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Not to be confused with William Morris
Also known as William M. Hunt or William Hunt
William Morris Hunt (March 31, 1824 – Sept. 8, 1879), American painter, born at Brattleboro, Vermont to Jane Maria (Leavitt) Hunt and Hon. Jonathan Hunt, who raised one of the preeminent families in American art. William Morris Hunt was the leading painter of mid-19th-century Boston, Massachusetts.
...The companionship of Millet had a lasting influence on Hunt's character and style, and his work grew in strength, in beauty and in seriousness. He was among the biggest proponents of the Barbizon school in America, and he more than any other turned the rising generation of American painters towards Paris.
...."The greatest of Boston painters", writes art historian G.W. Sheldon in his American Painters, "and one of the few really great American painters...." While a friend and student of Millet, "Hunt is an entirely original artist, and every picture of his is a spontaneous and independent product." In a bit of art history revisionism, some scholars are now re-examining Hunt's powerful pull on other early New England artists, many better-known.
....an important figure in New England arts and society, helping to turn the attention of the cognoscenti towards development in the European art world.
....He died at the Isles of Shoals, NH, in 1879, apparently a suicide. He had gone to the New Hampshire shore to recover from a crippling depression. But he continued to work, executing his last sketch 3 days before his death.... (Hunt was plagued throughout his life by periods of depression. Observers often noted that his mood would swing from exhilaration to abject sadness. Today he would probably be diagnosed as bi-polar.)
The artist Elihu Vedder once said that the name of William Hunt was so associated with the city that “to say ‘Hunt’ was... the same as saying ‘Boston.’”