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 John Young-Hunter  (1874 - 1955)

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Lived/Active: New Mexico/New York / England/Scotland      Known for: portrait, figure-genre and landscape painting

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Ad Code: 3
John Young-Hunter
from Auction House Records.
Santa Fe Trail Ablaze
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, John Young-Hunter was a portrait, figure, and landscape painter with a highly aristocratic upbringing in England and a career that reached to the American East and Southwest.

His father, Colin Hunter, was a marine painter and member of the Royal Academy of London, and his mother, Isabella Rattray Young (hence the Young-Hunter) was a distinguished pianist.  The parents were married 29 October 1874 at Govan, Lanark, Scotland.  John was raised with privilege and extravagance among the culturally elite of London, and close family friends included John Singer Sargent and Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

John received much recognition for his portrait painting in England, and his paintings were exhibited in the National Tate Gallery in London and the Luxembourg Museum in Paris.  He studied at Clifton College in England and the Royal Academy School as well as the University of London.  From 1900 to 1913, he exhibited at the Royal Academy.  In 1913, he went to the United States, pursuing his fascination with American Indians whom he had seen in Buffalo Bill's "Wild West Show" performances in London.  He had also met western artist Charles Russell in London the year before.

Hunter went West, first visiting the Crow Agency in Montana where he did much painting and acquired western gear, and on a second visit went to Great Falls, Montana where he was the guest of Charles and Nancy Russell.  They took him camping in Glacier Park.  In 1917, he first visited Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico.

Cutting his connections to the European art world, he settled in Taos, New Mexico in 1942, and became a part of the colony of artists around Mabel Dodge Luhan.  He had a home and studio on the eastern edge of that town and replaced his painting of society portraits with Indian subjects, landscape, and still life.  He and his first wife, artist Mary Young-Hunter, had many distinguished visitors.  He spent the winters in New York City, completing numerous portrait commissions whose quality was so respected that some persons compared his skills to those of John Singer Sargent.

In his book, Reviewing the Years, he discussed the techniques and underlying philosophy of his painting.  In 1956, the Harwood Foundation in Taos held a retrospective of his painting.

John Young-Hunter, Reviewing the Years
Harold and Peggy Samuels, The Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West
Note from Nola Towgood, researcher of Young-Hunter family

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

John Young-Hunter is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Taos Pre 1940
Painters of Grand Canyon

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