Goddess, Heroine, Beast: Sculpture by Anna Hyatt Huntington, 1876–1973
January 22–March 15, 2014
Curated by Dr. Anne Higonnet and Kitty Dare
Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876–1973) was once among New York City's most prominent, and most exceptional, public sculptors. She dedicated her work to the beauty of goddesses, the romance of heroism, and the vitality of animal life, on scales ranging from the monument to the medal. Although Huntington herself is forgotten today, her majestic equestrian sculptures still grace Manhattan's outdoor spaces and the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Historical Society, National Academy of Design, Hispanic Society, Cathedral of Saint John the Divine and Columbia University all include important examples of her work. At a time when very few women created life-size sculpture, Anna Hyatt Huntington developed an exceptionally successful and prolific career. She exhibited often, received critical acclaim, won awards, positioned her work in museums and in parks, and became one of the United States' highest-paid professional women, earning $50,000 a year by 1912. At the mid-point of what would turn out to be a 70-year-long career, Anna Hyatt married the great American philanthropist Archer Milton Huntington. As 2015 will mark the centenary of the installation of her famous, monumental sculpture of Joan of Arc in Riverside Park, the time is ripe for the renewal of her reputation.
This exhibition, focusing on Hyatt Huntington's early work, takes a fresh look at her pioneering career. It will highlight her "Diana of the Hunt" figure, a range of her diverse animal and architectural sculptures, and her Joan of Arc on horseback. In addition to numerous examples of small-to-life size works, the exhibition will experiment with the presentation of monumental, public sculpture inside a gallery using large-scale projections of innovative, 360-degree rotational object photography. Additionally, MA and PhDs students will participate in the creation of a web-based catalogue as part of their coursework, that will endure to guide the public to the many Hyatt Huntington sculptures they can enjoy year-round.
Dr. Anne Higonnet is the Ann Whitney Olin Professor in the Department of Art History at Barnard College and Columbia University, and Kitty Dare is an MA student in the Art History Department, Columbia University.