William Morris Hunt Biography
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William Morris Hunt (1824-1879)
William Morris Hunt was born at Brattleboro, Vermont, on the 31st of March 1824. His fathers family were large landowners in the state. He was for a time at Harvard, but his real education began when he accompanied his mother and brother to Europe, where he studied with Couture in Paris and then came under the influence of Jean Francois Millet. The companionship of Millet had a lasting influence on Hunts character and style, and his work grew in strength, in beauty and in seriousness.
Hunt was the real introducer of the Barbizon school to America, and he more than any other turned the rising generation of American painters towards Paris. On his return in 1855 he painted some of his most beautiful pictures, all reminiscent of his life in France and of Millets influence. Such are The Belated Kid, Girlat the Fountain, Hurdy-Gurdy Boy, &c. But the public called for portraits, and it became the fashion to sit to him, among his best paintings in this kind being those of William M. Evarts, Mrs Charles Francis Adams, the Rev. James Freeman Clarke, William H. Gardner, Chief Justice Shaw and Judge Horace Gray.
Unfortunately many of his 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. Among his later works American landscapes predominated. They also include the Bathers twice painted and the allegories for the senate chamber of the State Capitol at Albany, N.Y., now lost by the disintegration of the stone panels on which they were painted. Hunt was drowned at the Isles of Shoals on the 8th of September 1879.
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