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Richard Morris Hunt: Architect of the Gilded Age


A pen and ink illustration of Richard Morris Hunt with a Van Dyke style beard

Richard Morris Hunt

Illustration courtesy of the National Park Service, Statue of Liberty National Monument
The 19th century was a time in American history when many businessmen became rich, amassed huge fortunes, and built opulent mansions. Gilded Age architect Richard Morris Hunt became known for designing palatial homes with lavish interiors.


October 31, 1827 in Brattleboro, Vermont


July 31, 1895 in Newport, Rhode Island


Richard Morris Hunt was born into a wealthy family. He traveled extensively through Europe and studied in Geneva, Switzerland and at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He was made an assistant at the École in 1854.

Mansions by Richard Morris Hunt:

Great Buildings by Richard Morris Hunt:

  • 1869-1870: Stuyvesant Apartments, New York City
  • 1873-1874: Roosevelt Building, New York City
  • 1876: New York Tribune Building
  • 1881-1886: Pedestal for the Statue of Liberty, New York City
  • 1889-1893: Gymnasium, United States Military Academy, at West Point, New York
  • 1889-1895: Academic Building, United States Military Academy, at West Point, New York
  • 1891-1893: Columbian Exposition Administration Building, Chicago, IL
  • 1894-1902: Entrance to the Metropolitan Museum, New York City

Other Projects by Richard Morris Hunt:

Working with artists and craftspeople, Richard Morris Hunt designed lavish interiors with paintings, sculptures, murals, and interior architectural details modeled after those found in European castles and palaces.

Important Styles:

About Richard Morris Hunt:

Richard Morris Hunt was the first American to attend the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. When he returned to the United States, he introduced the country to Beaux Arts and Renaissance Revival architecture.

Hunt became famous for designing elaborate homes for the very wealthy. However, he worked on many different types of buildings including libraries, civic buildings, apartment buildings, and art museums.

Hunt also helped establish architecture as a profession in the U.S. He started the first American studio for architect training and helped found the American Institute of Architects (AIA). In 1855, he served as president of the AIA. He was a mentor to Philadelphia architect Frank Furness and New York City-born George B. Post.

Hunt's brother, William Morris Hunt, was a well-known painter.

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