52 for 150: What’s So Special About Mary Huntoon?

For week 32 of our Kansas sesquicentennial video series, we’re staying local and featuring artist and Menninger Clinic art therapy pioneer, Mary Huntoon.

Huntoon was a 1916 graduate of Topeka High School. She earned her Arts Bachelor degree from Washburn College, studied at the Art Students League in New York for six years and later spent five years in Paris. She had her first solo exhibition in the Sacre du Printemps gallery in Paris in the 1920s. Huntoon’s work is also in the collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.



About 52 for 150

Every object has a story, and stories build history. To celebrate 150 years of Kansas statehood we’re featuring 52 objects (or collections of related objects)—something new each week throughout the year—from the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library’s 130-year-old special, and permanent collections, that represent our collective state history and cultural diversity.

Our collections are available for teachers, students, researchers and general interest, and we hope this online video program will provide insight into what’s so “special” about Special Collections. Your library’s commitment to collecting art and preserving local history makes it possible for users today and in the future to have immediate access to invaluable research material and cultural artifacts.

To make an appointment to see work by Mary Huntoon, call or stop by the Sabatini Gallery (785-580-4515). We’re located on your right just beyond the Library rotunda entrance.

Heather Kearns

I've been the Sabatini Gallery's associate curator since 2004 and social media coordinator since 2008. My passion is helping people “get“ art, and by that I mean creating an environment both in-house and online which fosters a greater understanding, confidence, and sense of enjoyment from the art experience. Art should be easy to access and available to everyone. I take helping people very seriously.

3 thoughts on “52 for 150: What’s So Special About Mary Huntoon?

  1. I have 3 signed and numbered prints by an artist named Sharp. My understanding is that he was a patient at Menningers during the late 60’s and 70’s and that he later committed suicide. These pen and inks are very singular in that they are of animals in form but their interiors are filled with images of snakes, lizards, skulls, etc. They are very detailed. I have images of a lion’s head, a turtle and a bird. I was born and raised in Topeka and now live in Florida. I inhereted this artwork when my father passed 20 years ago. Can you shed any light on these drawings and any significance they might have. Thank you.

  2. Hi, Skip. I’ll ask some of my colleagues and see if it rings a bell. Do you have a date on the prints? Do you know if they were made during his stay in Topeka? Being a patient, there probably isn’t much information about him and his stay in Topeka, but as an artist, knowing where he was from, most active, and dates of activity would be a good start. It’s tough without a first name, too. But I’ll give it a shot and get back to you!

  3. Skip, we’ve identified several drawings in our collection by an artist named Sharp: a William, a Jim and a James. I could send you thumbnails of the work for comparison if you’d like. My email is hkearns@tscpl.org. Send me your email if you’d like!

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