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Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington

 (1876 - 1973)
Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington was active/lived in Massachusetts, California, South Carolina, Connecticut.  Anna Huntington is known for animal and equestrian monument sculpture.

Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington

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

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 The Johnson Collection
Anna Hyatt Huntington’s father, Alpheus Hyatt, was a professor of zoology and paleontology at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His specialty helps to explain the artist’s great ability at crafting small bronze animal sculptures and monumental equestrian statues. She received very little formal education, but eventually emerged as one of the most prestigious women artists of her era and one of the most accomplished sculptors.

Hyatt spent her adolescence in the Boston area, where her father provided her and her sister Harriet with a studio. Anna took instruction from Henry Hudson Kitson, who was primarily a portraitist. She later commented on her early years: “I was brought up with clay in my mouth.” Frustrated by the limited educational opportunities in her hometown, Hyatt went to New York where she studied with Hermon MacNeil at the Art Students League. She became a frequent visitor to the Bronx Zoo and closely observed lions, tigers, and elephants. She sold her early work through the metal and jewelry firms Shreve, Crump, and Low, plus Gorham and Company.

In 1907, Hyatt went abroad and opened a studio in Auvers-sur-Oise and in Paris, interrupted only by a stay in Italy and a short visit home. While in France, she embarked on her first major heroic study, an equestrian sculpture of Joan of Arc that was exhibited at the Paris Salon. It resulted in the first public monument in New York City by a woman, and the city’s first public statue of a real woman, as opposed to an allegorical one.

Dedicated in 1915, Joan of Arc also reflects the pro-French feelings of Americans during World War I as well as the tide of international sentiment that led to the French maiden's canonization in 1920.

On the occasion of her forty-seventh birthday in 1923, Hyatt married Archer M. Huntington, the stepson of railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington. It was his fifty-third birthday. Archer was a noted author, philanthropist, and the founder of the Hispanic Society of America in New York where his wife’s imposing sculpture El Cid is displayed in the courtyard. Archer Huntington donated land for a permanent home for the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City, and in 1942 the National Academy of Design opened its headquarters in the Huntingtons’ former residence, a Beaux Arts mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York.

Like many wealthy Northerners, the couple began to visit coastal South Carolina in the 1920s. They acquired several Allston family plantations near Murrells Inlet, which beginning in 1932 were transformed into Brookgreen Gardens, a sculpture museum and wildlife preserve of more than nine thousand acres. The first outdoor sculpture park in the country, it was an ideal site to showcase Huntington’s sculpture and a comprehensive survey of American figurative sculpture.

While some view the style of her work as conservative, Huntington’s small “animalier” bronzes were very much in vogue in the early decades of the twentieth century. Her large-scale public commissions are impressive for her ability to comprehend outdoor settings and bronze casting. Huntington was also innovative in her early use of aluminum and a great patron of like-minded sculptors. Like her counterpart, Gloria Vanderbilt Whitney who was both sculptor and founder of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Hyatt sustained a far-reaching and creative career in sculpture, while providing for the display of American art.
Submitted by Holly Watters
Collection Assistant, The Johnson Collection

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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About  Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington

Born:  1876 - Cambridge, Massachusetts
Died:   1973 - Redding Ridge, Connecticut
Known for:  animal and equestrian monument sculpture

Essays referring to
Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington

San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915
Women Artists