HUNT, William Morris
(b. 1824, Brattleboro, Vermont, d. 1879, Appledore, New Hampshire)


American painter whose work was influenced by French artists of the time, and his genre paintings are romantic and somewhat sentimental, as seen in The Bathers 1877. He was born in Brattleboro, Vermont, the brother of Richard Morris Hunt, a celebrated architect. He studied in Germany 1845-46 and Paris 1846-55 before settling in Boston in 1862.

His first aspirations for art were in the direction of sculpture, and he entered the Royal Academy at Düsseldorf in 1846, with that purpose in view. But after a few months this taste gave place to a preference for painting, and he became a pupil of Couture at Paris, subsequently coming under the influence of Millet, whose broad method of tendering humanity and nature was henceforth suggested in the style of Hunt.

In 1855 he returned to the United States and had a studio in Newport, but soon settled permanently in Boston, where he taught art with great success. Among his important works are portraits of Chief-Justice Shaw, painted for the Essex bar, Judge Horace Gray, Mrs. Charles Francis Adams, William M. Evarts. James Freeman Clarke, and Charles Sumner. His compositions, generally single figures broadly and forcibly rendered, include the Prodigal Son, Priscilla, The Drummer Boy (1861); Fortune Teller, Marguerite, and The Bathers, which is one of his best known works. Chief among his landscapes are Gloucester Harbor and Plowing, combining landscape and figure. Toward the close of his life Hunt executed two ambitious allegorical mural paintings for the state capitol at Albany, entitled The Flight of Night and The Discoverer.

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