Online Encyclopedia

WILLIAM MORRIS HUNT (1824-1879)

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 939 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
WILLIAM MORRIS HUNT (1824-1879), American painter, was born at Brattleboro, Vermont, on the 31st of March 1824. His father's family were large landowners in the state. He was for a time (1840) at Harvard, but his real education began when he accompanied his mother and brother to Europe, where he studied with Couture in Paris and then came under the influence of Jean Francois Millet. The companionship of Millet had a lasting influence on Hunt's character and style, and his work grew in strength, in beauty and in seriousness. He was the real introducer of the Barbizon school to America, and he more than any other turned the rising generation of American painters towards Paris. On his return in r855 he painted some of his most beautiful pictures, all reminiscent of his life in France and of Millet's influence. Such are " The Belated Kid," " Girlat the Fountain," " Hurdy-Gurdy Boy," &c. But the public called for portraits, and it became the fashion to sit to him, among his best paintings in this kind being those of William M. Evarts, Mrs Charles Francis Adams, the Rev. James Freeman Clarke, William H. Gardner, Chief Justice Shaw and Judge Horace Gray. Unfortunately many of his paintings and sketches, together with five large Millets and other art treasures collected by him in Europe, were destroyed in the great Boston fire of 1872. Among his later works American landscapes predominated. They also include the " Bathers "—twice painted—and the allegories for the senate chamber of the State Capitol at Albany, N.Y., now lost by the disintegration of the stone panels on which they were painted. Hunt was drowned at the Isles of Shoals on the 8th of September 1899. His book, Talks about Art (London, 1878), is well known. His brother, RICHARD MORRIS HUNT (1828-1895), the famous architect, was born in Brattleboro, Vermont, on the 31st of October 1828. He studied in Europe (1843-1854), mainly in the Ecole des Beaux Arts at Paris, and in 1854 was appointed inspector of works on the buildings connecting the Tuileries with the Louvre. Under Hector Lefuel he designed the Pavillon de la Bibliotheque, opposite the Palais Royal. In 1855 he returned to New York, and was employed on the extension of the Capitol at Washington. He designed the Lenox Library, the Stuyvesant and the Tribune buildings in New York; the theological library, and Marquand chapel at Princeton; the Divinity College and the Scroll and Key building at Yale; the Vanderbilt mausoleum on Staten Island, and the Yorktown monument. For the Administration Building at the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893 Hunt received the gold medal of the Institute of British Architects. Among the most noteworthy of his domestic buildings were the residences of W. K. Vanderbilt and Henry G. Marquand in New York City; George W. Vanderbilt's country house at Biltmore, and several of the large " cottages " at Newport, R.I., including " Marble House " and " The Breakers." He was one of three foreign members of the Italian Society of St Luke, an honorary and corresponding member of the Academie des Beaux Arts and of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. He was the first to command respect in foreign countries for American architecture, and was the leader of a school that has established in the United States the manner and the traditions of the Beaux Arts. He took a prominent part in the founding of the American Institute of Architects, and, from 1888, was its president. His talent was eminently practical; and he was almost equally successful in the ornate style of the early Renaissance in France, in the picturesque style of his comfortable villas, and the monumental style of the Lenox Library. There is a beautiful memorial to Hunt in the wall of Central Park, opposite this building, erected in 1898 by the associated art and architectural societies of New York, from designs by Daniel C. French and Bruce Price. He died on the 31st of July 1895.
End of Article: WILLIAM MORRIS HUNT (1824-1879)
[back]
WILLIAM HOLMAN HUNT (1827-1910)
[next]
JOHN HUNTER (1728-1793)

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.