|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|From the introduction to the book, Lynn Bogue Hunt: A Sporting Life by Kevin C. Shelly: Submitted by the author.|
Bogue Hunt lived in two worlds throughout his 82 years. Born into
a well-off family, he grew up poor, raised by a single parent: the
tattered coat worn to his high school graduation was patched and let
out; his mismatched pants second-hand. Money mattered to Hunt the rest
of his life.
One of his favorite sayings as an adult was: "Art
for art's sake, but money for God's sake!" During the Depression
his popular and prolific artwork earned him as much as $50,000 a year -
about $650,000 in today's dollars. He had money enough then for a
maid and a fashionable Long Island address. Concerned with
appearances, Hunt dressed meticulously, even when fishing. An
immaculate white smock protected his customary painting attire: suit,
tie and starched white shirt.
But Hunt spent money faster than
he made it. A poor businessman who did not plan for the future,
he had spent his wealth by the time he died.
marked Hunt's life: Indifferent in the classroom, he assisted
scientists as an adult. Though he told family and teachers that
he felt most at home in the woods, he resided in or near New York City
for more than 57 years. Described as friendly and gregarious, he
also struck those who knew him as quiet and self-effacing. An
early conservationist and ardent animal lover, he killed thousands of
game animals and fish. But he also advocated catch-and-release
gamefishing as early as 1935 and supported Ducks Unlimited's habitat
restoration. An urbane man, member of the arty Dutch Treat Club,
welcomed at the acerbic Algonquin Roundtable and exclusive Angler's
Club, Hunt also was an ordinary suburban commuter much of his adult
life, known to his grandchildren as "Papa Toot Toot" because of his
daily travel on the Long Island Railroad.
Embarrassed by and
ultimately estranged from his independent wife, the artist openly kept
a mistress. As a result, Hunt's wife sometimes spent months alone
on the east coast of Florida while Hunt simultaneously went to the west
coast of Florida, fishing and painting in the company of his
girlfriend. Despite their estrangement, Hunt's wife unstintingly
cared for him during his last decade, as he grew increasingly dependent
when infirmities and lost eyesight stopped his work.
published magazine illustration - a line drawing of a strutting grouse
accompanying a story he wrote - appeared inside Sports Afield in 1897. A 1951 cover painting of mallards coming in for Field & Stream
- his 106th cover illustration for that magazine alone - book-ended an
astounding 54-year-career as a leading wildlife artist during the
Golden Age of magazine illustration.
Hunt made some of the most
recognizable sporting art ever created, including one of the earliest
Duck Stamps. He illustrated more than 40 books, executed hundreds
of commissioned paintings for corporations and private clients ranging
from small canvases to huge hotel murals, completed about 250 separate
cover paintings for nearly 40 different magazine titles, including all
the top sporting publications and also general interest publications
such as Boy's Life, Collier's, Better Homes and Garden, and the Saturday Evening Post.
Hunt's prolific working life and high profile friendships with Ernest
Hemingway and other influential sportsmen of his time, only a handful
of stories were written about the artist during his lifetime - or since
he died. He began, but never finished, an autobiography. He
has never previously been the subject of a biographical book. And
the first major showing of his dramatic artwork came more than four
decades after his death.
Hopefully this book will renew interest
in Lynn Bogue Hunt, one of the best sporting artists of the 20th
century, and a fascinating and complex man.
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