Richard Morris Hunt, Architect [1828-1895]
Richard Morris Hunt was born in Brattleboro, Vermont in 1827. His father was an attorney and land owner who served for a time as a U. S. Congressman. Hunt's father died at an early age, resulting in his mother moving the family to Europe (Switzerland and Paris) for more than a decade. Hunt was the first American to attend the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Returning to America in 1865, is credited with introducing the Beaux Arts style to America. During his lifetime he was noted for his elaborate home designs for the rich and famous as well as public, commercial and institutional buildings. Hunt designed the base for the Statue of Liberty. He is considered a leader of the Gilded-Age, of American architecture together with the likes of a number of noted contemporaries including H. H. (Henry Hobson) Richardson. Prior to the Gilded-Age, American architects were rarely professionally trained. Hunt died in 1895 and is buried in Brattleboro's Island Cemetery.
Hunt's commissions include some of the best-regarded architectural masterpieces in the country, including: World Columbian Exposition Administration Building, the Tribune Building (an early New York City skyscraper), the facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cornelius Vanderbilt's Newport mansion (the Breakers) and George W. Vanderbilt's Asheville, North Carolina mansion (Biltmore, the largest house ever built in America).