Richard Morris Hunt1827 - 1895
Born: October 31, 1827, Battleboro, Vermont
Died: July 31, 1895, Newport, Rhode Island
As a teenager, Richard Morris Hunt left the United States and traveled to Paris, where he spent twelve years. In 1846, he began his formal education at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, the first American to be accepted at the prestigious school. His training focused on the architectural design of public buildings, but he also studied sculpture, painting, and drawing. After returning to New York in 1857, Hunt was instrumental in establishing professional standards for architects and helped found the American Institute of Architects. He also formed a studio and trained many students that went on to become preeminent architects, such as William Ware. He continued to travel to Europe throughout his life for artistic inspiration and expounded on the numerous historical European architectural styles for American buildings.
As the foremost architect of the late nineteenth century, Hunt designed private homes and summer houses, monuments and memorials, and commercial structures and public buildings. He had connections with the wealthiest families in the United States planning buildings for the Vanderbuilts, Marquands, and others. Some of his most noted public commissions include the Tribune Building (one of the first buildings with an elevator), the Yorktown Memorial, the base of the Statue of Liberty, the facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Administration Building at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. Hunt incorporated painting, sculpture, and architecture within his elaborate structures and worked closely with artists John LaFarge, Karl Bitter, and Augustus Saint-Gaudens.