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Brookgreen Gardens to Display Retrospective Works by Founder Anna Hyatt Huntington

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Brookgreen Gardens will display a special exhibition of sculptures by its founder, Anna Hyatt Huntington, as part of the sculpture garden’s continuing 90th anniversary celebration. American Animalier: The Life and Art of Anna Hyatt Huntington will include over 70 objects, including sculptures, portrait paintings, historic objects, and photographic enlargements of outdoor sculptures spanning the scope of her prolific career throughout the 20th century. The exhibition, including pieces from Brookgreen’s collection and works on loan, will be on view from Jan. 29 – April 24, 2022, in the Brenda and Dick Rosen Galleries.

“We are committed to continuing the legacy of Anna Hyatt Huntington, the visionary of Brookgreen Gardens,” says Page Kiniry, president of Brookgreen Gardens. “Brookgreen is uniquely positioned to present this retrospective, thanks to the unparalleled expertise of our curator and expansive collection of art and artifacts. It will also be truly special to learn about her art and life in a place she used to call home.”

The daughter of a paleontologist and marine biologist, Huntington began to sculpt with an affinity for animal anatomy. Early on, her favorite subject was the horse, and she began incorporating horses into her commissions. In 1910, she created the original Joan of Arc on horseback; four years later, she was commissioned to sculpt her most famous work for New York City. “People walk by her Joan of Arc in New York’s Riverside Park every day but may not know who made it,” says Kiniry. “She’s one of the most famous artists many people have never heard of.” A bronze reduction of Joan of Arc and a silver Joan of Arc commemorative cup created by Tiffany & Co. are among the notable objects on display in the exhibition.

Anna and her husband, Archer Huntington, purchased Brookgreen for a winter home in 1930. Just a year later, they turned the property into the first public sculpture garden in the country, and she began selecting works to create a significant sculpture collection. Throughout her career, Anna produced 20 life-size or larger equestrian monuments, including the martyr, Joan of Arc; the medieval military leader, El Cid; the American Revolution hero, Sybil Ludington; and the chivalrous Don Quixote from Spanish literature – all of which will be included in this exhibit.

Due to Anna’s significance as an artist and art patron, as well as the number of women sculptors represented in the collection, Brookgreen Gardens was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1992. This designation recognizes its importance in women’s history and Anna’s importance in the patronage of American figurative sculpture.

For more information about this exhibit, visit www.brookgreen.org.

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