Field Trip: Brookgreen Gardens
HOST: In the 1930s, Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington created Brookgreen Gardens, the first public sculpture garden in the country. Decades later, Brookgreen remains dedicated to American representational sculpture with a collection of almost 1,800 works by 435 artists. Anna Hyatt Huntington was an acclaimed sculptor. Appraiser Eric Silver joined us to look at several of her works, as well as sculptures by other pioneering women artists of her era. Tell me more about the artist Anna Hyatt Huntington.
Anna Hyatt Huntington was basically a self-taught artist. Although she received some training, she got most of her experience by actually observing animals in zoos and carefully sculpting them. She did many, many works. She did large-scale ones like Diana of the Chase and she did smaller ones. And this was unusual for women sculptors because most of the large, public monumental pieces were done by male artists, and the women sculptors did garden sculptures and a lot of these smaller animal sculptures. This is actually a smaller version of a larger piece called, Red Doe and Fawn, and it was sculpted in 1934. HOST: And what did it sell for in 1934?
Probably for a few hundred dollars, $300 or $400. HOST: And today, if we could find a piece similar to this in this condition?
A similar piece to this would probably bring in the $20,000 to $30,000 range. Here at Brookgreen Gardens, there were hundreds of artists represented, and about 25% of them are women. This is by an artist named Bessie Potter Vonnoh, and it's called, "Water Lilies." It was first modeled in 1913. And the whole thing was in a pool that was set with sculptures of waterlilies. The records show about 30 were cast at the time. Many of these were put out in gardens, and they deteriorated from the weather, from humidity, from vandalism. And at certain points, many of these sculptures were melted down for the scrap metal. HOST: So if I were to find one in condition similar to this, what would be the value of a comparable piece?
A comparable piece would probably be in the $30,000 to $40,000 range. This is by Harriet Frishmuth. She studied with Auguste Rodin in Paris. And this piece is called The Vine and it was her most popular sculpture. There was about 350 casts made of this. In the 1920s, this was listed in the Gorham catalogue for $200. And there's a quote from Frishmuth saying that they sold like hotcakes. HOST: What would you say the value of a piece like this would be if I had one similar to this?
A similar piece would be in the $25,000 to $30,000 range. HOST: Well, I think you have made a wonderful selection out of all of these sculptures to feature these and the others we've looked at. Thanks so much, Eric, I really enjoyed it.
Thank you, Mark.
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