Sybil Rinehart Huntington

Sybil Rinehart Huntington epitomized the spirit of the Nevada outback artist. Beginning in the 1930s, she lived with her surveyor husband in Sawtooth Knob, a remote mining camp fifty miles west of Winnemucca, Nevada, and created colorful oil paintings of vistas in Humboldt County. Huntington was often featured in solo and group exhibitions in Reno.

Until Huntington's eyesight began to fail in her eighties, the artist kept up a vigorous regimen of painting; her favorite subject was mountainous terrain, usually characterized by lone peaks, a sea of sagebrush in the foreground, and vivid red sunsets.

Huntington studied art at Washington University in St. Louis in the early 1890s, and was singled out by the School of Fine Arts to exhibit nine of her drawings in the 1893 Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. Following graduation, she settled in Colorado, married surveyor John Huntington in 1901, and followed him from mining camp to mining camp until his death in 1958. She lived in Winnemucca for a number of years thereafter.

Huntington pursued two careers in addition to painting: teaching and commercial art. In the 1890s, she was engaged to teach art classes at Forest Park University and Austin College, both in Illinois. As a commercial artist, she had oil portraits on the covers of Sunset Magazine in 1921 and 1922. The 1926 edition of the University of Nevada yearbook, Artemisia, featured four of her commissioned scenes of campus. Reno Evening Gazette visual arts reporter Lillian Borghi frequently wrote about the artist in her Arts and Artists column during the 1930s and 40s, reviews of exhibits at the Nevada Art Gallery, Brundidge's (art store) and Reno businesses that featured paintings in their front windows.

In 1973, at age 103, Huntington passed away in the Washington, D.C. area at the home of her only son, Morgan.

Further Reading

Nell Murbarger. Desert Artist of Sawtooth Knobin Sovereigns of the Sage: "True Stories of People and Places" in the Great Sagebrush Kingdom of the Western United States. Palm Desert, CA: Desert Magazine Press, 1958.
Lillian Borghi. Arts and Artists. Reno: Reno Evening Gazette, 26 September 1942.

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