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Anna Hyatt Huntington

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Biography

Anna Hyatt Huntington was an active sculptor for eighty-four years. At the age of thirteen, encouraged by her mother, an academic painter, and her father, a professor of paleontology and zoology, she began sculpting animals. After studying at the Art Student’s League in New York, the young artist worked in the studio of Gutzon Borglum modeling animals. Even before her studies in Paris, the sculptor won a medal at the 1904 Exposition in Saint Louis. While in France, she was a frequent contributor to the Salons and was awarded several commissions for monumental works in the United States. Huntington exhibited works at the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915. With her marriage to Archer Huntington in 1923, she became a patron of the arts while still working as one of America’s most renowned sculptors.

Huntington was extremely successful in the early years of her career, with invitations to international expositions, the winning of large commissions and well received commercial exhibitions. She kept a studio in Paris, yet was drawn to Cape Ann in the summers (the Hyatts had a family summer house in Anasquam). As an active member of the American Academy, the National Sculpture Society and the National Academy of Design, she shared an affinity for sculpting animals as well as frustration with the critical approval of abstraction in the post-war era with many of the best sculptors from the first half of the century. With her husband, Archer P. Huntington, she founded Brookgreen Gardens in 1931 which was the first public sculpture garden in the United States. Her patronage (with the purchase and exhibition of figurative and narrative sculptures) gave an outlet and income to a large group of academically trained sculptors.