Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington, 1876-1973

  • Anna-Vaughn-Hyatt-Huntington-WWP

Woman Category: ArtsWoman Tags: NYC Women and Sculptress

  • HerStory

    An award-winning sculptress, who was the first woman to create and erect a public sculpture in New York City.

    Influenced by her Harvard zoology professor father to be interested in animals, and found artistic inspiration in her mother and two grandmothers, Anna expressed her passion by making sculptures.
    She moved to New York City in her mid-twenties and built an impressive career in the market of small sculptures: participated in exhibitions, was commissioned by prestigious art institutions, won awards, and sold many art pieces. One of her most popular sculptures was “Yawning Tiger” which was bought in hundreds of copies.
    Hyatt Huntington invested in long visits to Paris to gain the recognition of the Europe-facing art world. In 1910 she exhibited a monumental sculpture of Joan of Arc at the Paris Salon. She was later commissioned to reproduce the sculpture – placing Joan of Arc on Riverside Drive and 93rd Street. It was the first public sculpture of a real woman to be erected in New York City and a first-ever monument created by a female artist in the city.
    In her thirties, she was considered among the highest-paid professional women in the country. At the age of 47, she married cultural tycoon Archer Huntington, changing her name from Anna Vaughn Hyatt to Anna Hyatt Huntington. Together the couple was active in the national art world. Among their many initiatives, the two established South Carolina’s Brookgreen Gardens, the first public sculpture garden in the United States. Anna continued working until a few years before her death, at the age of 97.

    “I had a feeling for animals from the time I could crawl around”

    “I had a feeling for animals from the time I could crawl around”


    More Interesting Anecdotes:

    • She regularly exchanged letters with her mother, sometimes more than once a week, until her mother’s death.
    • From 1927 until 1937 she contracted and survived tuberculosis.
    • In February 1917 she dressed up as the subject of her statue – Joan of Arc – arriving at a medieval-themed pageant of the Architectural League of New York in full armor on a white horse.
  • More About Her Legacy
    Creations By and About Her:

    * Books about her


    * Bronze medal, St. Louis World’s Fair (1904)
    * Silver medal, Pacific American Exposition (San Francisco, 1915)
    * Rosette of Public Instruction from the French Government (1915)
    * Rodin Gold Medal (Philadelphia, 1917)
    * Saltus Award (1920 and 1922)
    * Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor (1922)

  • Watch and Learn More

  • One of Her Landmarks

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  • Woman Tags: NYC Women, Sculptress

    Anna Hyatt Huntington

    Born in 1876, Anna Vaughn Hyatt came from a family that supported her interest in animals and the arts. Her mother and sister were both artists. Her father was a professor of paleontology, and she developed a scientist's power of observation. In 1902 she went to New York to pursue her work but she had little formal training as a sculptor, studying for a short time at the Art Students' League. She went to Paris in 1906 and became interested in Joan of Arc and a few years later she was commissioned to create a Joan of Arc for Riverside Park in New York City. It was the city's first public sculpture of a woman, by a woman and the first to depict St. Joan in proper period costume.

    By 1915 Anna Hyatt was an established artist making a good living; she was listed as one of ten women in America making more than $50,000 a year. She met Archer Huntington in 1921when he commissioned her to create a medal for the Hispanic Society of America, which he had founded. The following year they both served on a committee for the National Sculpture Society and the next year they were married. She was 47 and he was 53.

    The Huntingtons discovered Brookgreen in 1929 while they were looking for a winter home. Anna had developed tuberculosis, so they wanted to escape the cold northern winters. Initially they purchased about 6600 acres of land at Brookgreen for $225,000 and throughout the '30s they bought more parcels until they owned 9,127 acres of forest, beach and riverfront land. The Huntingtons' vision for Brookgreen Gardens -- a place to exhibit American figurative sculpture outdoors amidst native plants and animals -- quickly began to materialize.

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    Hall of Fame official site -

  • Anna Hyatt Huntington in 1965 . Credit- Hiller Herman @ LOC.