A Life-Long Partnership
Anna Hyatt was a prominent and successful sculptor when she began corresponding with philanthropist and railroad heir Archer Huntington in 1921. Soon they began planning a sculpture for the Hispanic Society of America, as Archer was determined to install large sculptures as a way to ensure that the Society's buildings would stand permanently.
What began as a professional collaboration evolved into a life-long partnership. Two years after they met, Archer and Anna married quietly in her studio. Anna spent nearly two decades creating monumental works of art for the Society, most notably an equestrian statue of El Cid, the great medieval Spanish hero. Anna created a second casting of El Cid for the city of Sevilla, Spain in 1927.
Anna was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1927; against her doctor's advice she refused to quit working, and she struggled with the illness and the resulting decrease of artistic output for a decade. However, during this time she continued to receive recognition for her art and won a number of awards as well as an honorary Doctor of Arts from Syracuse University (1932).
She worked when able and recognition for her art continued. She won several prestigious prizes and honors during this time. In 1927 Anna Hyatt Huntington became the first woman ever to become a member of the prestigious American Academy of Arts & Letters. She won the Academy’s gold medal for sculpture in 1930. Her Joan of Arc gained her recognition as an officer of the French Legion of Honor in 1933.