One of the most important architects of the 19th century, Hunt designed several buildings along Fifth Avenue, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s main entry hall and facade. The Hunt monument once faced one of his most well-known buildings, the Lenox Library, which was demolished in 1912 and replaced with Henry Clay Frick’s mansion, now a museum.
Members of the Municipal Arts Society, an organization Hunt helped to start, sponsored the monument. The American sculptor Daniel Chester French, who would later go on to design the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., created the bust of Hunt and the flanking allegorical female figures representing architecture and the allied arts, painting and sculpture. The classical colonnade and seating area were designed by Bruce Price. Inscribed on the memorial is a list of all the arts organizations Hunt helped establish. Many of the most prominent artists and architects of the era attended the 1898 dedication ceremony.
There are two other monuments to visual artists in the Park, Samuel F.B. Morse and Albert Bertel Thorvaldsen. Hunt designed the pedestals for two monuments in Central Park: The Pilgrim and the Seventh Regiment Memorial.