"A Grand Menagerie" - Christopher Newport University


A zebra mare and foal cast in bronze by Anna Hyatt Huntington

"A Grand Menagerie"

New Torggler exhibition showcases Lions Bridge sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington’s global legacy

Above: Anna Hyatt Huntington , Zebra Mare and Foal, 1934, Bronze, 19.75 x 26 x 11 in., Courtesy of Brookgreen Gardens

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The artistry of Anna Hyatt Huntington, one of America's most revered sculptors, is now on display at the Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center. This comprehensive showcase, titled “A Grand Menagerie,” brings together nearly 100 of her works, and is the most ambitious display of this pioneering artist in decades. The exhibition, organized by the Torggler, stands as a testament to Hyatt Huntington's profound impact on the world of art, as well as her enduring legacy in Newport News and beyond.

Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973) was a prolific American sculptor renowned for her dynamic and evocative animal sculptures, equestrian statues, and larger-than-life figures. Her work often celebrated the beauty and strength of the natural world, capturing the essence of her subjects with remarkable skill and detail.

President William G. Kelly expressed deep appreciation for the opportunity to shine a spotlight on Hyatt Huntington's remarkable career.

“Anna Hyatt Huntington made significant contributions to Newport News, and we are proud that we can bring recognition to her artistry through this ambitious exhibition, the most comprehensive one ever assembled on Hyatt Huntington’s work in decades. This exhibition is also a reflection of our desire to deepen our ties with Newport News, our hometown that we cherish.”

One of her most prominent local works is the lion sculptures at Mariners’ Park, located just a roaring distance from the Torggler. These regal lions, created in the 1930s, stand watch over the Lions Bridge in Newport News as symbols of strength and majesty.

Holly Koons, Executive Director of the Torggler, first became familiar with Hyatt Huntington’s work during her tenure at Telfair Museums in Savannah, Ga. The artist’s sculptures had a profound impact on Koons, and when she encountered Hyatt Huntington’s Lions not long after moving to Newport News, she said it felt like “running into old friends in a still unfamiliar place.”

“I soon learned that while virtually everyone in the area knew about the Lions, very few were aware of the artist who created them,” she said.

Koons said this ambitious exhibition seeks to remedy that, as visitors will have the opportunity to experience the expansiveness of Hyatt Huntington’s work. The exhibit is made possible by the generosity of 32 art-lending institutions across the United States. Koons hailed the exhibition as a “truly rare and comprehensive exploration of Hyatt Huntington's oeuvre.”

"Anna Hyatt Huntington's sculptures are not mere artworks; they are powerful expressions of her deep connection to the natural world," said Koons. "This exhibition offers Torggler visitors a unique opportunity to witness the evolution of her artistry and the enduring impact of her work."

Her sculptures adorn several public spaces in Hampton Roads. In addition to the Lions, her sculpture the Torch Bearers, stands outside the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Va., and her monument, Conquering the Wild, overlooks Mariners’ Lake in Mariners’ Park in Newport News.

Koons and President Kelly expressed appreciation for the museum lenders and key sponsors, including Anne and Gus Edwards, Jennifer Dunn, Gina Fitzhugh Wilson, and the Randolph D. Rouse Foundation, whose generosity has made this exhibition possible. Their contributions, alongside the support of George and Mary Torggler, the Board of Visitors, the Governor, the General Assembly, and the Torggler’s Patrons, underscore the University's commitment to bringing the arts to all.

“A Grand Menagerie” exhibition, is free and open to the public. 

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