Richard Hunt (sculptor)

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Richard Hunt
Born (1935-09-12) September 12, 1935 (age 82)
South Side, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Nationality United States
Education School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Alma mater School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Occupation sculptor
Home town Chicago

Richard Hunt (born September 12, 1935) is an American sculptor with over 125 sculptures for public display in the United States. Hunt has served on the Smithsonian Institution's National Board of Directors.

Early life and education

He was born in 1935 on Chicago's South Side. From an early age he was interested in the arts, as his mother was an artist. As a young boy, Hunt began to show enthusiasm and talent in artistic disciplines such as drawing and painting, and also sculpture, an interest that grew more and more as he got older. Beginning in the seventh grade, he developed his skills at the Junior School of the Art Institute of Chicago.[1] Hunt also acquired business sense and awareness of social issues from working for his father in a barbershop.[2]

As a teenager, Hunt began his work in sculpture, working in clay and carvings.[3] While his work started in his bedroom, he eventually built a basement studio in his father's barbershop.[4] Hunt studied at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1953 to 1957, focusing on welding sculptures, but also studying lithography.[5] Hunt began exhibiting his sculptures nationwide while still a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.[6] As a Junior, his piece “Arachne,” was purchased by the Museum of Modern Art in New York.[7] He received a B.A.E. from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1957.[8] Upon graduating, Hunt was awarded the James Nelson Raymond Foreign Travel Fellowship[9][10] and continued his studies in England, France, Italy, and Spain.[11] His time abroad solidified his belief that metal was the definitive medium of the twentieth century.[12] Upon returning from his studies abroad, Hunt served in the United States Army from 1958 to 1960.[13] He became the youngest exhibiting artist at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair.[14]


"Symbiosis" by Richard Hunt was a gift to Howard University by former school trustee Hobart Taylor.[15]

Hunt began to experiment with materials and sculpting techniques, influenced heavily by progressive twentieth-century artists. This experimentation garnered critically positive response from the art community, such that Hunt was exhibited at the Artists of Chicago and Vicinity Show and the American Show, where the Museum of Modern Art purchased a piece for its collection. He was the youngest artist to exhibit at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, a major international survey exhibition of modern art.

Hunt has completed more public sculptures than any other artist in the country.[citation needed] As of January 20, 2015, Hunt has created over 125 sculptures for public display in the United States.[16] His signature pieces include Jacob's Ladder at the Carter G. Woodson Library in Chicago and Flintlock Fantasy in Detroit.

He was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson as one of the first artists to serve on the governing board of the National Endowment for the Arts and he also served on boards of the Smithsonian Institution.[citation needed] From 1980 to 1988, Hunt served as Commissioner of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American Art.[17] In 1991, Richard Hunt received 13 honorary degrees from various schools. From 1994 to 1997, Hunt served on the Smithsonian Institution's National Board of Directors.[18] Hunt is the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees.[citation needed]

Hunt has continued to experiment throughout his successful career, employing a wide range of sculptural techniques. Through his work, Hunt often makes comments on contemporary social and political issues.

Honors and awards

Selected works

Selected Collections


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  19. ^ International Sculpture Center website. 'Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award page'. Retrieved 24 January 2010.


  • Payne, Les (1997). "The Life and Art of Richard Hunt". Newsday (January 9): Sect. B, pp. 6–7, 23. 
  • Brockington, Horace (1997). "Richard Hunt, The Studio Museum in Harlem". Review (January 15): 10–12. 
  • Schmerler, Sarah (October 1997). "Richard Hunt, The Studio Museum in Harlem". Sculpture: 54–55. 
  • Baltimore Museum of Art, and Jay McKean Fisher. Prints by a Sculptor: Richard Hunt. Baltimore: Baltimore Museum of Art, 1979.
  • Castro, Jan Garden (May–June 1998). "Richard Hunt: Freeing the Human Soul". Sculpture: 34–39. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
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