Musée No:218.017Regular price $32.33
Artist: William Morris Hunt
Morris Hunt was an American oil painter and sculptor born into a rich family in Vermont. Following the death of his father his mother moved the family to Europe in 1832. They lived in Switzerland, Rome and the south of France. He studied with Couture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and then spent two years with Millet (and no doubt Charles Francois Daubigny) at the Barbizon School. On his return to the States he set up several art schools, including one in Boston where he was a popular portrait painter. He created the fashion for the American version of the Barbizon school style of luminous atmospheric painting. He painted some of his most beautiful canvases, reminders of his life in France and of Millet's influence. Sadly, many of Hunt's 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. His later works were predominantly of American landscapes including views of Niagara Falls in 1878. Later in the year Hunt got the chance of a lifetime, a commission to paint two huge murals at the New York Capitol in Albany. “The Allegories" were painted working from scaffolding 40 feet in the air, in only a few months, in an unheated building in winter directly onto a sandstone surface. Sadly the panels deteriorated because of the moisture from the stone – it is thought that this may have led to what happened next. Hunt became depressed and in September 1879 he went out for a walk on his own from the hotel on Isles of Shoals. Sometime later a search party was sent out and he was found drowned in a tiny pool in the centre of the island. Whether or not it was suicide from depression or just a very tragic accident due to his failing health and stability was never known. Three months after his death the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston hosted a memorial exhibit of Hunt’s work.