Anna Hyatt Huntington

Alt text: Bronze sculpture of a pair of elephants leaning against one another, side view
Alt text: Bronze sculpture of a pair of elephants leaning against one another, angled view
Alt text: Bronze sculpture of a pair of elephants leaning against one another, angled view
Alt text: Bronze sculpture of a pair of elephants leaning against one another, angled view
Alt text: Bronze sculpture of a pair of elephants leaning against one another, angled view
Alt text: Detail of Elephant sculpture

Anna Hyatt Huntington
American 1876–1973
Treading at the Pickets, 1902
10 H. x 16 W. inches
Signed, Dated, inscribed: Anna V. Hyatt, copyright 1902

Goldfield Galleries, Los Angeles.
Private collection, Arizona.

Treading at the Pickets was modeled circa 1898, when the sculptor was about 22 years of age and living in Boston, and was copyrighted in 1902.  Her inspiration for depicting the two elephants came from a visit to the Bostock Animal Show that was touring in the area.  Such shows were travelling menageries that were originally conceived circa 1804 during the Georgian age in England by George Wombwell, who began the tradition by exhibiting exotic animals; by the Victorian era, the shows were more expansive featuring all types of beasts, curiosities and displays of human feats.  In 1852, Wombwell joined with the Bostock family and the firm thrived, eventually touring throughout Europe and America under the leadership of Frank Bostock, who arrived in the United States in 1893.  He set up in Brooklyn and partnering with the Ferari Brothers, initiated the traveling carnival business in America, a precursor to Barnum and Bailey’s Circus.  It was at such a show that Anna Hyatt saw her models first-hand.


Artist Description

Anna Hyatt Huntington

American (1876 – 1973)

Often confined in the category of animal sculptor, Anna Hyatt Huntington’s work strains against the limits of its category. Her animals prowl, attack, and gnaw. Their energy also expresses itself in the struggle against the solidity and resistance of their materials. The panther’s lithe form slithers up and over a budding mound of stone.

Anna Hyatt Huntington was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1876. She became one of America’s foremost animal sculptors, known for her wild and domestic animal sculpture as well as heroic monuments. She was influenced early by her father’s work as a paleontologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and by her mother’s illustrations of her father’s work. She had a special interest in horses and was also a frequent visitor to the Bronx Zoo in New York. With her older sister, she became a student in Boston of Henry Hudson Kittleson, and had her first exhibit when she was twenty-four years old that included forty pieces, which was quite unusual for an artist so young. She also studied in New York with Hermon Atkins MacNeil at the Art Students League and worked for a time with Gutzon Borglum. For a time she lived in New York with Abastenia St. Leger Eberle with whom she collaborated on a work titled “Men and Bull” in 1904 with Huntington doing the bull. Among her many honors was being made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor for her equestrian statue of Joan of Arc, and this success assured her reputation.

At age forty seven, she married the Hispanic poet Archer Huntington, the son of railroad
magnate Collis Huntington. They started America’s first outdoor public sculpture garden on their South Carolina estate Brookgreen, which they bought in the 1930s. In 1940, they settled in Connecticut where they raised deer hounds and birds on their estate, Stanerigg Farm. The place became a gathering spot for many friends, and together they roamed the grounds with Huntington scaring off bird-threatening squirrels with her 22 caliber rifle. She continued sculpting until her death at age ninety-seven in 1973. During her career she exhibited at the National Academy of Design, 1881-1950, Art Institute of Chicago, 1898-1916, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1899-1943, Boston Art Club, 1901 and the Paris Salon, 1910.

Her memberships include: Brookgreen Gardens, Copley Society, National Academy of Design, National Association of Women Artists, National Sculpture Society, American Federation of the Arts, Institute of Arts and Letters. Her sculptures are represented in a number of Public Collections including: Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Edinburgh Museum, and Brookgreen Gardens.

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