A native of Springfield, Massachusetts, Hunter graduated from Williams College in 1943. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1943-46, rising to the rank of lieutenant junior grade and receiving five battle stars.
Hunter began his professional art career in 1947, when he joined The New York Times as an art critic for a two-year stint. He studied at the University of Florence through the Hubbard Hutchinson Fellowship earning a certificate of studies in 1951. He spent a year as an editor with art publisher Harry N. Abrams Inc. before serving as editor of Arts Magazine.
He was an author, an Emeritus professor of art history at Princeton University, director of the Jewish Museum, founding director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, acting director of the Minneapolis Institute of Art and a visiting professor at the Clark Art Institute at Williams College, Harvard University and various other institutions of higher learning.
He penned monographs, exhibition catalogues, articles, wrote the original book on the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, contributed to textbooks and various treatments of modern art. In addition to curating many museum and gallery exhibitions, Hunter has written on Francis Bacon, Tom Wesselman, George Segal, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Jackson Pollock, and many other contemporary and modern masters.
Hunter died aged 91 in Princeton, New Jersey on July 27, 2014.
- Larry Rivers, 1965
- American art since 1945, in Will Grohmann, ed., New art around the world; painting and sculpture, 1966
- American art of the 20th century, 1970
- Modern art: painting, sculpture, architecture, 1976
- George Segal, 1984
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