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collections > permanent collection > prints > William morris hunt

William Morris Hunt
(American, 1824 -1879)
Bugle Call, 1863
Lithograph, 17 3/4" x 13 3/4"

Gift of the Frank and Margaret Sullivan Fund (2010.033)

Among nineteenth-century American artists, William Morris Hunt was one of the few who envisioned lithography as more than a popular art form. Dating to 1863, The Bugle Call belongs to a group of patriotic images that Hunt made during the Civil War.  In contrast to similar subjects by Currier and Ives and others, The Bugle Call displays a fine sense of atmosphere and nuanced motion.  The careful gradation of black-and-white tones is typical of Hunt, who was not only a painter and printmaker, but a master of charcoal drawing as well. 

Born in Vermont, Hunt studied sculpture at Harvard and in Rome before turning to painting.  He enrolled as a pupil in the Paris studio of Thomas Couture, where he successfully absorbed contemporary French style.  During the 1850s Hunt exhibited his work in both France and the United States; discovering the Barbizon School painters and Jean-François Millet in particular, he returned to New England and began disseminating their work among fellow artists and collectors.  He established himself in Boston and helped found the progressive art school of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  Later he worked on a major mural project for the new state house in Albany, New York, which he completed shortly before his death in 1879.