#382 Architect of the Gilded Age

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Published Feb 25, 2022, 3:03 AM

Richard Morris Hunt was one of the most important architects in American history. His talent and vision brought respect to his profession in the mid-19th century and helped to craft the seductive style of the Gilded Age.

So why are there so few examples of his extraordinary work still standing in New York City today?

You're certainly familiar with the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty and the grand entrance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, two commissions that came late in Hunt's life.

And perhaps you've taken a tour of two luxurious mansions designed by Hunt -- The Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island, and Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina.

But Hunt was more than just pretty palaces.

He championed the profession of the architect in a period when Americans were more likely to associate the job with construction or carpentry. Hunt brought artistry to the fore and trained the first official class of American architects from his atelier in Greenwich Village.

He promoted certain European styles of design -- collectively known as the Beaux-Arts architecture -- to growing wealthy class of Americans who wished to emulate the grand and regal lifestyles of French aristocracy.

His legacy includes prominent organizations promoting both the field of architecture and the need for effective urban design. Along the way he built hospitals, libraries, newspaper offices, artist studios, churches and even the first American apartment building.

Join us for this look at a true arbiter of American architecture.

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And for more fascinating details about the Gilded Age, listen to our spin-off podcast The Gilded Gentleman, hosted by Carl Raymond. 

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