Pompeo Coppini was a prolific sculptor whose work can be found throughout the United States, particularly in the state of Texas. He created many public monuments, portrait statues and busts during his lifetime along with a number of smaller sculptures such as the present work. In Indian on Horseback, Coppini models the figure and horse with careful attention to detail and a strong sense of form.
The artist was born in Moglia, Mantua, Italy and grew up in Florence. He was educated at the Accademia di Belle Arte in Florence under Augusto Rivalta, graduating with honors in 1889, and immigrated to the United States in 1896. Coppini first went to Texas in 1901 when he was commissioned to create a statue of Jefferson Davis for the capitol in Austin. While other commissions brought him to New York and Chicago beginning in 1916, he returned to San Antonio in 1937 and is most strongly associated with the state. He was awarded an honorary doctor of fine arts degree from Baylor University in 1941 in recognition for his artistic contributions to Texas.
Coppini founded the Classic Arts Fraternity in his studio in 1945 with the sculptor Waldine Tauch, his student, assistant and foster daughter. Five years later the school was renamed the Coppini Academy of Fine Arts and remains an active cultural institution in San Antonio today.