Artists & Architects

Anna Hyatt Huntington1876-1973

place of birth: United States of America , Cambridge
place of death: United States of America , Redding Ridge

Remarks
ANA 1916; NA 1922

Biography
Anna Hyatt began her art training in the early 1890s, working under Henry Hudson Kitson in Boston. Early in her career she modeled domestic animals, collaborating at first with her sister Harriet Hyatt. She began selling casts of her own sculpted animals, and her talent was quickly recognized, as evidenced by her inclusion in a Boston Arts Club exhibition of 1900. In 1903 she was in New York, studying under Hermon MacNeil at the Art Students League and, privately, under Gutzon Borglum. As noted, Hyatt's early interest was in the sculpting of domestic animals. An example in this genre, Winter Noon (1902), depicting two workhorses, was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1903. Around 1905 she began to focus on animals of a wilder sort, observing them in zoos in New York; sculptures of tigers, jaguars, and other large cats were the result. One of her best- known pieces of the period is Reaching Jaguar (1905-6, replicas, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina). She traveled abroad in 1906 and 1907 to make a concentrated study of European art and of the anatomy and behavior of animals she wanted to depict. Hyatt's first major commission was the equestrian bronze Joan of Arc erected on Riverside Drive in New York in 1915. The model for the piece, which Hyatt sculpted in a Paris studio she had rented for this specific purpose, won an honorable mention in the Paris Salon of 1910. A replica was installed in a public plaza in Blois, France, in 1922, in recognition of which she was made a chevalier of the L├ęgion d'Honneur, France, that year. Her second major equestrian monument, El Cid, was installed in Seville, Spain, in 1927 (replica, courtyard of Hispanic Society, Audubon Terrace, New York). Hyatt married the wealthy scholar and poet Archer Milton Huntington in 1923, joining him at 1083 Fifth Avenue, the Manhattan residence he had purchased twenty years earlier. He built a sculpture studio for her atop a wing that had been added to the building in the 1910s. The house was the Huntingtons' New York home until 1939, when Archer Huntington donated it and adjacent properties to the National Academy of Design, which had not had permanent headquarters since 1900. At the same time, he established a fund structured to "enable [the Academy] to carry forward its project of utilizing the newly acquired property." That Anna Hyatt Huntington, who survived her husband, shared his concern for the welfare of the Academy was demonstrated by her bequest of a trust fund to help support maintenance of the institution's buildings. Archer Huntington's creation and support of cultural and scholarly institutions was a lifelong habit. (The most conspicuous example was the complex of buildings he erected in New York's Audubon Terrace to house the Hispanic Society, the American Numismatic Society, and the Institute and Academy of Arts and Letters.) His wife readily extended this philanthropy. Together they sought the best context in which to make sculpture-her own as well as works by her contemporaries and artists of future generations-available to the public. In 1931 the Huntingtons incorporated Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, for the patronage and display of large outdoors sculpture. It remains one of the world's most comprehensive public collections of late-nineteenth and twentieth-century American representational sculpture. The sculptor began exhibiting at the Academy in 1908, shortly after her return from Europe, and showed many animal pieces and several busts there over the years. She was awarded the Saltus Medal for Merit twice, once in 1920 for her model of Joan of Arc, and again in 1922 for Diana of the Chase. She also won the Academy's Julia A. Shaw Memorial Prize in 1928 for Fighting Bull and its Elizabeth N. Watrous Gold Medal in 1948 for Don Quixote and in 1958 for Fillies Playing. DBD

Works

  • Diana of the Chase

    date
    1922

    dimensions
    Overall: 99 x 36 x 23 in., 881lb. Other (Base): 2 3/8 x 19 x 19 in.

    Medium
    Bronze

    Credit Line
    National Academy Museum, New York, Gift of the artist, 1948

    Description
    In 1922, shortly after this life-size figure was modeled, it won the Academy's Saltus Medal for Merit and was exhibited in that year's annual. The replica now in the collection of Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, originally stood in a dining-room niche in the Huntington home on Fifth Avenue. "Diana" is balanced on an orb, probably a symbolic representation of her other manifestation as goddess of the Moon. In her stretching, turning, and spiraling movement, she serves well as the focal point of a garden fountain, which is her purpose at Brookgreen Gardens. At the Academy, she has almost become a symbol of the institution, standing as she has for many years on the ground floor in the rotunda, on a line with the front door, and thus fully visible from the street. Although this cast has no visible founder's mark, the one at Brookgreen bears the stamp of the Kunst Foundry, New York, and it may be assumed that most, if not all, of the replicas were cast there. In addition to the casts at the Academy and Brookgreen Gardens, replicas are held by: the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York; the University of Texas, Austin; Jardin des Lices, Blois, France; Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown, Maryland; Palacio de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba; Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois; New-York Historical Society; Audubon Park, New Orleans, Louisiana; Ueno Park, Tokyo; University City, Jardin Fuente de Diana, Madrid.