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William Morris Hunt Dies Mysteriously at Isles of Shoals

Was he suicidal?

Hunt was his own worst critic, rarely satisfied with his work, and always striving to do better. His “unstable temperament” and bohemian lifestyle may have indicated to some that he suffered from mental illness. Many brief biographies simply list his death as a suicide, and he is even included among a study of known suicidal painters like Vincent Van Gogh.

Hunt certainly had reasons to be depressed. His father died when he was eight. He had bouts of sickness and depression. He was often brutally attacked by critics. In 1872 his Boston studio burned in a huge fire destroying much of his work and many paintings he had collected while in Europe. In 1874 Hunt separated from his wife, socialite Louisa Perkins.

Another Boston socialite who knew Hunt commented at his death, “He [Hunt] has put an end to his wild, restless, unhappy life. Perhaps it has saved him years of insanity which his temperament pointed to.”




CONTINUE "The Mysterious Death of Mr. Hunt"

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