On Exhibit: Goddess, Heroine, Beast

February 20, 2014

A century ago, Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973) was among the city’s most prominent sculptors, known for her naturalistic animal sculptures and heroic figures. Today, her work is displayed in many of the city’s leading institutions and outdoor spaces, including Columbia, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Central Park and the Bronx Zoo, where she spent time studying animals up close. Her bronze sculpture Joan of Arc sitting astride a horse stands at West 93rd Street and Riverside Drive. When it was unveiled in 1915, it was the first sculpture of a woman, by a woman, in the city. This month, Columbia’s Wallach Gallery is focusing on her early work in an exhibit titled "Goddess, Heroine, Beast: Anna Hyatt Huntington’s New York Sculpture, 1902-1936."

Huntington worked on every scale, from monumental to medals. To convey the experience of her larger-than-life works, the gallery used high-resolution, rotational digital photography to present them in the round. Alongside these projections, created by Columbia’s Media Center for Art History, are many of Huntington’s other works, her life-size bronze Diana of the Chase, and 14 animal sculptures that showcase the emotional depth and realism for which she was known.

“All around New York City, beloved sculpture by Anna Hyatt Huntington remains, its author forgotten,” said Anne Higonnet, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Art History at Barnard and Columbia, who organized the exhibition with assistant project coordinator Kitty Dare, a Columbia M.A. student, and University students.

In her lifetime, Huntington and her husband, philanthropist Archer Milton Huntington, helped found nearly 20 museums and wildlife preserves as well as America’s first sculpture garden, Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina.

The exhibition will be on view until March 15. For more information, visit columbia.edu/cu/wallach.

—by Columbia University News Team