Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts on the numismatic connections of the 2010 Brookgreen Gardens medal discussed last week.
While the sculptor shown on this year's Brookgreen Garden Membership Medal, as illustrated in last week's E-Sylum, can be considered a tribute to any female sculptor, it is tacit admiration of the founder of Brookgreen Gardens itself, Anna Hyatt Huntington.
While in her nineties, she was still spry enough to climb scaffolding. She died at age 93 and had only stopped climbing ladders two years prior, while still creating heroic models in her Bethel, Connecticut, studio.
I like to tell the story that as early as 1912 she was earning more than $50,000 a year as a sculptor and was listed in "Who's Who in America" before her husband, Archer Milton Huntington was listed as a philanthropist.
Recognize the names? They each were benefactors of the American Numismatic Society. Archer not only donated the land at 155th & Broadway called Audubon Terrace, where the ANS was formerly headquartered, he also donated money for the building and underwrote purchases for their collections. The society's move away from Audubon Terrace to lower Manhattan, however, has greatly diminished the Huntington's numismatic luster. Anna Hyatt's most famous work is the heroic statue Joan of Arc, shown on the medal. The statue dominates the courtyard at Audubon Terrace.
A saying about Archer Milton Huntington: "Everywhere he put his foot down a museum sprung up!" This holds true not only for Brookgreen Gardens, but also for the six organizations at Audubon Terrace. This included Museum of the American Indian (now gone), American Geographical Society (now gone), American Hispanic Society (one of Archer's favorite museums, still there) and two others. He also founded the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Virginia.
I also like to relate that Anna Hyatt Huntington's entry in "Who Was Who in American Art" (3 volumes by Peter Hastings Falk) is one of the longest -- for men or women -- surpassed only by the Peale Family artists.
The Brookgreen Gardens material described the pictured sculptor by her maiden name as "Anna Vaugh Hyatt". I was too slow to make the comnection to Anna Hyatt Huntington.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
THE 2010 BROOKGREEN GARDENS MEMBERSHIP MEDAL
Wayne Homren, Editor
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