Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Anna Hyatt Huntington became one of America's foremost animal sculptors, known for her wild and domestic animal sculpture as well as heroic monuments.
She was early influenced 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 Harriet, Anna became a student in Boston of Henry Hudson Kitson, and her first exhibit when she was age twenty-four 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 for 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 in 1923, she married the Hispanic poet Archer Milton Huntington, the son of railroad magnate Collis Huntington. The couple lived in his residence in New York City at 1083 Fifth Avenue, and Collis had a sculpture studio built for his wife atop of a wing of the building. They lived there until 1939, and then he donated it and adjoining properties to the National Academy of Design, which had not had permanent quarters since 1900. He also established a fund to facilitate the Academy's use of the property, a cause that Anna much supported as indicated many years later by her bequeathing upon her death in 1973 a trust fund to support the building's maintenance.
Anna Huntington had begun exhibiting at the Academy in 1908, and over the years exhibited many times there, twice receiving the Saltus Medal for Merit: 1920 for Joan of Arc and 1922 for Diana of the Chase.
They started America's first outdoor public sculpture garden on their South Carolina estate Brookgreen, at Murrell's Inlet, where they had moved after their 1931 departure from New York City.
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 scarring off bird-threatening squirrels with her 22 calibre rifle. She continued her sculpting until her death at age ninety-seven in 1973. Her papers are in the Schlesinger Library of Radcliffe College. Two of her works, Joan of Arc and El Cid, are on the front lawns of the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.
Charlotte Rubinstein, American Women Artists
David Dearinger, Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design, 1826-1925