Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1874, he would die in Taos in 1955 and the intervening years would see him sacrifice of a life of wealth and privilege to enter a completely different life of adventure, novelty and discovery that he would find in the American West.
John Young-Hunter was educated with the best, studying at the Royal Academy under both John Singer Sargent (a personal friend of the family) and Lawrence Alma Tadema. Because of his societal position and great ability, he began his career painting glamorous portraits of family friends and other very important people. But in 1912 his life was to take an unexpected turn when he met the famed Western painter, Charles M. Russell. Until then, Hunter’s only knowledge of the American West was a performance of “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show” that he had seen as a child in London and never forgotten. But after meeting Russell, his imagination piqued, John Young-Hunter soon booked passage to America to pursue his painting passion there.
Young-Hunter arrived in Santa Fe and journeyed to Taos and in Taos he found his forever home in 1942, with the assistance of Mabel Dodge Luhan and the camaraderie of the Taos Six who founded the Taos Society of Artists. His family settled on the east edge of Taos where he set up his painting studio. Indeed, it was John Young-Hunter who suggested that Nicolai Fechin, the Russian artist, move to Taos to experience the “real” America. Fechin took his advice and once in Taos, Fechin was not known to socialize much with the other artists, but made an exception for his friend John Young-Hunter. Hunter continued painting Native American scenes, landscapes and still lifes until his death in 1955.
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