Huntington, Anna Hyatt, 1876-1973

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1876-03-10
Death 1973-10-04
Gender:
Female
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Animal sculptor, Bethel, Conn., b. 1876; d. 1973.

From the description of Oral history interview with Anna Hyatt-Huntington, [ca. 1964] [sound recording]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 312026542

From the description of Anna Hyatt-Huntington interview, [ca. 1964] [sound recording]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 85185377

Sculptor; New York, N.Y.

From the description of Anna Hyatt-Huntington papers, 1902-1967. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122502404

Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973) was an award-winning American sculptor, best known for her animal pieces and her large equestrian statues.

Born in Cambridge, Mass. on March 10, 1876, the daughter of noted palaeontologist, naturalist, and Harvard professor, Alpheus Hyatt, she had planned to become a concert violinist but was encouraged by her sister to try sculpture. She studied briefly under H.E. Kitsen of Boston, and in the Art Students' League in New York, and received valuable criticism from Gustav Borglum. Other artists with whom she studied include Hermon Atkins MacNeil, George Grey Barnard, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and Malvina Hoffman.

As early as 1898 she began to exhibit her work and by 1906 had established a reputation as a fine sculptor of animals. She lived in Europe from 1906 to 1908 and again in 1910 when she won an honorable mention for her plaster model of Joan of Arc. She then returned to America where she executed many commissions, several of monumental size, such as the Joan of Arc which was placed along Riverside Drive in New York City.

In 1923 she became the second wife of Archer Milton Huntington, adopted son of Collis P. Huntington who founded the Southern Pacific Railroad. Archer Huntington was vitally interested in art, particularly Spanish art and culture; he encouraged his wife's work and she came to share his love for Spain and its people. Despite a lengthy bout with tuberculosis beginning in 1927, Anna continued to actively produce and show her work after their marriage. In 1937 the Huntingtons moved from New York City to Haverstraw, New York to an estate they called "Rocas," and then in 1940 to an estate and farm near Bethel, Connecticut, which they called "Stanerigg." Here Mrs. Huntington became interested in owning and breeding Scottish deerhounds and her kennel at Stanerigg produced a number of award-winning dogs, but her main focus was always her art. She continued to sculpt and produce fine pieces until illness forced her to stop in 1972, and she died shortly thereafter in 1973.

Sculptors Marjorie Jay Daingerfield and Katherine Ward Lane Weems both studied with her, and she was the friend and collaborator of sculptor Abastenia St. Leger Eberle (whom she affectionately called "Stennie") and a colleague of artist Elizabeth Norton.

Particularly well-known are Mrs. Huntington's heroic equestrian statues. These include El Cid (several locations including the Hispanic Society of America in New York and Seville, Spain), Young Andrew Jackson (Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster, South Carolina), General Israel Putnam (Putnam Memorial Park, Redding, Connecticut), and The Torchbearers (Ciudad Universitaria, Madrid). Her last major equestrian piece was a statue of Cuban nationalist José Martí, which stands in New York's Central Park; the piece was begun in the mid 1950s but due to the United States' difficult relations with Cuba it was not unveiled until 1965.

Mrs. Huntington was an active member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Academy of Design, and the National Sculpture Society, and gave generously to numerous museums, charities and civic organizations. With her husband, she founded Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina, a state preserve and sculpture garden, and the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, Virginia; the couple also donated 15,000 acres of forestland in the central Adirondacks to the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF). Mr. Huntington founded the Hispanic Society and Museum in New York City, and Anna also actively supported this organization.

Mrs. Huntington received numerous awards and honors over her career, among them a silver medal at the San Francisco Exposition in 1915, a gold medal in Philadelphia in 1917, and the Saltus Gold Medal from the National Academy of Design. She became a Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur in 1933, was named "Woman of the Americas" in 1958, and on her ninetieth birthday she received greetings from friends, fellow artists, and admirers worldwide. Her sculpture is in the permanent collections of more than 200 museums across the United States as well as overseas.

From the guide to the Anna Hyatt Huntington Papers, 1887-1973, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

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Subjects:

  • Sculptors--Interviews
  • Bronze sculpture, American
  • Equestrian statues
  • Animal sculptors--United States
  • Women--Biography
  • Art--Collectors and collecting
  • Women art patrons
  • Public art
  • Monuments
  • Art patronage
  • Women philanthropists
  • Art museums
  • Women sculptors
  • Dog breeders
  • Public sculpture
  • Animal sculptors
  • Sculpture gardens
  • Upper class--United States
  • Women artists--United States
  • Women sculptors--Interviews
  • Art--American (?)--Reproductions
  • Hispanists, United States
  • Women sculptors--United States
  • Art, American
  • Women and animals
  • Scottish deerhound
  • Sculpture, American--20th century
  • Animals in art
  • Endowments
  • Art--Sculpture
  • Animal sculpture
  • Sculptors--United States
  • Art, American--20th century
  • Animal sculptors--Interviews

Occupations:

  • Artists
  • Sculptors

Places:

  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)