Remarkably influential and deeply talented, painter William Morris Hunt would become the proverbial "legend in his own time", with many fledgling artists emulating his life path and finding inspiration in his work.
He was born in Vermont in 1824, and studied at Harvard University before traveling to Germany and then Paris to complete his formal training. He also painted at Barbizon, near the Fontainebleau Forest alongside the school's most well known member, Jean Francois Millet. His time in Europe had introduced him to Academic art as well as figure studies, but it was his experience with the Barbizon landscape that would most heavily influence his work.
In 1855 he returned to the United States where continued painting and exhibiting, and by 1862 he was settled in the Boston area. He had married into a socially advantageous position and was able to create a great deal of interest in the Barbizon school.
His subject matter throughout this period was the Massachusetts coast, and he began to demonstrate some influences of the Impressionists. Hunt's work had a reputation as ground breaking, especially in combination with his academic background and the effects of his attention to realism and composition.
In addition to influencing the Boston art scene with his own preferences in Barbizon landscapes and styles, he would also serve as an incredibly influential teacher with students such as Childe Hassam and Winslow Homer.
He exhibited widely throughout his life including the Paris Salon and the National Academy of Design in New York. He was associated with several prestigious organizations, and his works are in the most important private and public collections. His paintings can be found in more than two dozen museums, including the Carnegie Museums in Pittsburgh, the Isabella Stewart Garner Museum in Boston and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.