Huntoon, Home and Away
As an artist, Huntoon is likely best-known for the Kansas subjects she selected for large-edition prints published during the Depression by the Public Works of Art Project, and later the Federal Art Project. Her print, Kansas City, Kansas Grain Elevators may depict the Southwestern Milling Company, once located near 18th and Kansas Avenue. Drug Store Lunch, Topeka depicts the once-common sight of a drugstore luncheonette.
Despite her regional reputation and long career, a considerable number of Huntoon’s compositions are based on travel outside of Kansas. In 1920, she moved to New York and studied at the Art Students League for the next six years. She then found work in Paris making etchings for a newspaper and spent six years abroad. In 1927, she spent nine months in Corsica, producing drypoints of the local landscape such as Aux Calanches (known to us as the Calanques de Piana). Before returning to Topeka in October of 1930 after the death of her first husband, Huntoon created Man Reading, a watercolor of her friend Albert (Abbey) Seasongood in his Paris home. After marrying Lester Hull in 1932, the couple honeymooned in Germany, Italy, and Czechoslovakia: travel that inspired compositions such as Intermission at Concert, Berlin. Other than a summer in Mexico in 1934 and brief stint working in Alberta, Canada in the mid-1940s, Huntoon spent the rest of her career in Kansas.
Man Reading, 1930. Watercolor. Gift of Colette and Jeff Bangert to the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas.
Aux Calanches, Corsica, 1927. Drypoint. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries.
Intermission at Concert, Berlin, 1933. Etching. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries.
Drug Store Lunch, Topeka, 1934. Engraving. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries.
Kansas City, Kansas, Grain Elevators, 1936. Soft-ground etching. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries.
Learn about how this print was conserved: https://blogs.lib.ku.edu/spencer/treatment-of-mary-huntoons-kansas-city-kansas-grain-elevators-an-etching-part-2/