Esther Anna Hunt Biography

Esther Anna Hunt




Esther Anna Hunt, painter, printmaker, and ceramist, was born in Grand Island, Nebraska on 30 August 1875. Her father died when she was only four-years-old and her mother married Captain John A. Frazier. Keen on operating a ranch, he moved the family to Southern California where he purchased 700 acres and established the town of Carlsbad. The family eventually relocated to Los Angeles and, in 1901, Hunt moved to San Francisco to study art at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art. She financed her education by painting scenes and portraits of the residents of Chinatown, primarily featuring children in traditional garb. She was very successful and her work was selected for representation by a New York gallery. Hunt moved to Manhattan in 1905 to further her studies in portraiture at the Art Students League where she studied with William Merritt Chase. In 1906, Hunt left for Paris, living, studying and exhibiting there for the next six years. While in Paris, her portrait of her sister was hung in the Paris Salon.

Hunt returned to California in 1913 and settled in Los Angeles until 1918 when she returned to San Francisco. In addition to her continued interest in capturing local Chinese culture, she traveled north and met members of the Pomo tribe of Sonoma County.  Intrigued by the people and their culture, her paintings of the time portray mothers and children in their daily lives. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, she lived in New York. Hunt exhibited with the American Watercolor Society in 1908, the Detroit Museum in 1909, the Panama-California Exposition San Diego in 1915, the San Francisco Artist Association. She was awarded a gold medal for sculpture at the Panama-California Exposition. Hunt was also a member of the Laguna Beach Art Association.

Her career came to an end after a stroke in 1946 and she was sent to a rest home in Santa Ana, California where she lived until her death on 4 March 1951.