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 Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington  (1876 - 1973)



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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/California/South Carolina/Connecticu      Known for: animal and equestrian monument sculpture

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BIOGRAPHY for Anna Huntington
1876 (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
1973 (Redding Ridge, Connecticut)

Massachusetts/California/South Carolina/Connecticu

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animal and equestrian monument sculpture

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Women Artists
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Anna Hyatt Huntington became one of America's foremost animal sculptors, known for her wild and domestic animal sculpture as well as heroic monuments.

She was early influenced by her father's work as a paleontologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and by her mother's illustrations of her father's work.  She had a special interest in horses and was also a frequent visitor to the Bronx Zoo in New York.

With her older sister Harriet, Anna became a student in Boston of Henry Hudson Kitson, and her first exhibit when she was age twenty-four included forty pieces, which was quite unusual for an artist so young.

She also studied in New York with Hermon Atkins MacNeil at the Art Students League and worked for a time for Gutzon Borglum.  For a time she lived in New York with Abastenia St. Leger Eberle with whom she collaborated on a work titled Men and Bull in 1904 with Huntington doing the bull.

Among her many honors was being made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor for her equestrian statue of Joan of Arc, and this success assured her reputation.

At age forty seven in 1923, she married the Hispanic poet Archer Milton Huntington, the son of railroad magnate Collis Huntington.  The couple lived in his residence in New York City at 1083 Fifth Avenue, and Collis had a sculpture studio built for his wife atop of a wing of the building.  They lived there until 1939, and then he donated it and adjoining properties to the National Academy of Design, which had not had permanent quarters since 1900.  He also established a fund to facilitate the Academy's use of the property, a cause that Anna much supported as indicated many years later by her bequeathing upon her death in 1973 a trust fund to support the building's maintenance.

Anna Huntington had begun exhibiting at the Academy in 1908, and over the years exhibited many times there, twice receiving the Saltus Medal for Merit: 1920 for Joan of Arc and 1922 for Diana of the Chase.

They started America's first outdoor public sculpture garden on their South Carolina estate Brookgreen, at Murrell's Inlet, where they had moved after their 1931 departure from New York City.

In 1940, they settled in Connecticut where they raised deer hounds and birds on their estate, Stanerigg Farm.  The place became a gathering spot for many friends, and together they roamed the grounds with Huntington scarring off bird-threatening squirrels with her 22 calibre rifle. She continued her sculpting until her death at age ninety-seven in 1973.  Her papers are in the Schlesinger Library of Radcliffe College. Two of her works, Joan of Arc and El Cid, are on the front lawns of the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.

Charlotte Rubinstein, American Women Artists
David Dearinger, Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design, 1826-1925

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Cambridge, MA on March 10, 1876, Anna Hyatt Hunting was the daughter of a professor of paleontology at Harvard.  From her father Anna learned to appreciate all forms of animal life.  She studied art under Henry H. Kitson in Boston, Gutzon Borglum and Hermon MacNeil at the Art Students League in New York City.

In 1923 she married Archer Huntington, the son of Collis Huntington who was an uncle of Henry Huntington, founder of the Huntington Library & Art Gallery in San Marino, CA.  Upon Collis's death, Archer's mother married Henry, thereby relating Archer and Henry both by blood and marriage.

Anna's career was spent in the East where she had homes and studios in New York and Connecticut.  An internationally known sculptor and animalier, Mrs. Huntington is best known in California for her large equestrian statues of Jeanne D'Arc and El Cid in front of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor.  She continued to sculpt until age 90 at her estate in Redding Ridge, CT. She died there on Oct. 4, 1973.

Nationa Academy of Design
Copley Society (Boston);
National Sculpture Society

Society of American Artists, 1903
Louisiana Purchase Expo (St Louis), 1904 (bronze medal)
Lewis & Clark Expo (Portland), 1905
Paris Salon, 1908, 1910
Panama Pacific International Exposition, (silver medal)
National Academy of Design, 1920 (Saltus medal), 1922, 1928 (Shaw prize), 1958 (gold medal);
American Sculpture
California Palace of the Legion of Honor 1929.

In: 200 museums in the U.S.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Contemporary American Sculpture; American Art Annual 1933; Women Artists of the American West; International Studio, Aug. 1924; NY Times, 11-12-1936 & 10-5-1973 (obituary).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery:
An accomplished American sculptor of the early twentieth century, who specialized in animal subjects, Anna Hyatt Huntington was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and took early training from Boston sculptor, Henry Hudson Kitson.  In 1902, she moved to New York and studied with Hermon MacNeil at the Art Students League.  From 1907-10, she traveled abroad, spending time in Paris and Auvers-sur-Oise, France, and Italy.  During this time, she created an equestrian sculpture of Joan of Arc that was exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1910, and earned her a commission for the same subject on Riverside Drive in New York City, dedicated in 1915.

In 1923 Hyatt married New York philanthropist Archer M. Huntington.  Together they became major patrons of traditional sculpture through their involvement in and support of the National Sculpture Society and the National Academy of Design.  She continued her career actively through the 1930s, producing numerous sculptures for the buildings and courtyard around the Hispanic Society in New York, which housed other institutions of Archer Huntington¹s interest.

In 1927, the couple began to travel south during the winters for rest and a moderate climate, and in 1930, purchased a site of four historic plantations near Murrells Inlet on the South Carolina coast.  There they built Brookgreen Gardens, with a winter residence called “Atalaya,” a garden and nature preserve.  Anna designed a butterfly shaped garden with pools and fountains around the site of the old plantation house.  In addition to placing bronze statues of her own, Diana of the ChaseJoan of Arc, and El Cid, the artist produced versions of many animals for the garden, similar to the examples shown here.

The Huntingtons also acquired other figurative and traditional sculptures, founding Brookgreen Gardens in 1931.  The property opened the following year as the first public sculpture garden in the United States.

Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, III:
Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington (March 10, 1876 – October 4, 1973) was an American sculptor. She was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Her father, Alpheus Hyatt, was a professor of paleontology and zoology at Harvard University and MIT, a contributing factor to her early interest in animals and animal anatomy. Anna Hyatt initially studied with Henry Hudson Kitson in Boston, who threw her out after she identified equine anatomical deficiencies in his work (Rubenstein 1990).

She studied later with Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Gutzon Borglum at the Art Students League of New York. In addition to these formal studies she spent many hours doing extensive study of animals in various zoos and circuses.

She was one of two hundred and fifty sculptors who exhibited in the 3rd Sculpture International held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the summer of 1949.

Huntington and her husband, Archer Milton Huntington, founded Brookgreen Gardens near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She was a member of the National Academy of Design and the National Sculpture Society (NSS) and a donation of $100,000 from her and her husband made possible the NSS Exhibition of 1929 [see references]. Because of her husband's enormous wealth and the shared interests of the couple, the Huntingtons were responsible for founding fourteen museums and four wildlife preserves.

They also gifted Huntington State Park, consisting of approximately 800 acres (3.2 km2) of land in Redding, Connecticut to the State of Connecticut.[1]

She was the aunt of the art historian A. Hyatt Mayor.


Biography from Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery:
Anna Hyatt Huntington

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1876. Daughter of Alpheus Hyatt, a very eminent paleontologist of his time and a pupil of Louis Agassiz. Her first study was with Henry H. Kitson in Boston; later she came to New York and had a few months at the Art Students' League under Hermon MacNeil; after that some criticisms from Gutzon Borglum.

She has small bronzes at the Metropolitan, Carnegie, Cleveland, San Francisco San Diego, Luxembourg, and Edinburgh museums; large Lion at Dayton, O.: memorial piece at Lancaster, N. H.; Joan of Arc at New York City, Gloucester, Massachusetts, San Francisco, California, and Blois, France; wall figure of Joan of Arc at Cathedral of St. John the Divine; El Cid at New York City

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