|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Sculptor Richard Howard Hunt was born on September 12, 1935 in Chicago
and raised there. Most of his work is abstract, suggesting
recognizable human and natural forms. Hunt describes his work as,
"the reconciliation of the organic and the industrial." |
began in his teens, modeling in clay and carving in his bedroom at
home. He later created a studio in the basement of his father's
barbershop. Intrigued by metalwork at the African collection of
Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, where his mother, a
librarian, frequently took him. Working in a zoological lab at
the University of Chicago contributed to his fascination with animal
and insect forms.
Hunt attended the Art Institute of Chicago
from 1953 to 1957 focused on sculpture especially welding, and he
studied lithography. Hunt was exposed to the work of the
Sculptors Julio Gonzales and David Smith, to whom he has attributed
inspiration to use direct-metal techniques to transform steel,
aluminum, copper, and bronze into sculpture. The welding torch
being his mallet and chisel, and his materials, which included found
objects, garbage and auto parts found on industrial sites that he
transformed into plant-like and insect-like forms. By 1960, Hunt
had become a major open-form, direct-metal sculptor.
college, he traveled abroad to Europe in 1957 on a fellowship.
Examining Etruscan and Renaissance sculpture reinforced his feeling
that metal was the medium of the Twentieth Century. Hunt won his
first award in 1959 at an annual show for artists in the Chicago
area. One of the jurors was highly impressed with Arachne, the work he had submitted, and urged New York's Museum of Modern Art to purchase it.
the late 1960s, Hunt began to combine closed with open forms, calling
them "hybrid figures." In them, the influence of Futurist
sculpture can be felt. In the 1970s, he added inventive Baroque
flourishes to his forms so that solids seemed both to penetrate voids
and to be penetrated by them.
Hunt was gradually moved away from
his early calligraphic work to closed contours and solid shapes.
As commissions have been bestowed upon him, the scale of his sculpture
has grown. He has produced more than fifty-five public-site
sculptures, including a candelabra for St. Matthew's Methodist Church,
Chicago (1970) as one of the thirty-five that exist in his home state
of Illinois alone. Although his success as a large-scale public
art sculptor has taken him out of the exhibition circuit, Hunt has
become interested in color lithographs, which have a graphic interest
distinct from his three-dimensional work.
In 1971 Richard Hunt
became the first black American accorded a retrospective at the Museum
of Modern Art. Throughout the years he has received Guggenheim,
Ford, and Tamarind Fellowships, awards from the Art Institute of
Chicago, and Logan, Palmer, and Compana prizes. Hunt holds eight
honorary degrees, and his work is represented in major museums and
collections. His background includes professorships and
residencies in art, and his work includes drawings and lithographs as
well as sculpture. He has served on the National Council of the
Arts and as a commissioner of the Smithsonian Institution's National
Museum of American Art.
Matthew Baigell, Dictionary of American Artists
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art
Ro Gallery, www.rogallery.com
|** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.|
Richard Hunt is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Black American Artists