1904 (Roswell, New Mexico)
1984 (Roswell, New Mexico)
Often Known For
western landscape, genre and portrait painting, etching
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|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|A regionalist painter known for his landscape, figure and genre
paintings of New Mexico, Peter Hurd was especially focused on capturing
light and atmosphere. His preferred medium was tempera on gesso
panel, and many of his works depict the panoramic views he saw from his
beloved ranch land as well as the people
with whom he was most familiar---Indians, Mexicans, and
Caucasians. He was also a muralist and did many lithographs and
Hurd was born in Roswell, New Mexico on February 22, 1904 as Harold Hurd, Jr. Called Pete from his early days on, he legally changed his name to Peter in his early twenties. In 1921, he enrolled as a student at West Point Military Academy in New York
state. Selling a painting to a supervisor, he felt encouraged to
become an artist instead of a military career man.
In 1924, he
enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and also took
private lessons from well-known illustrator N.C. Wyeth. In 1929,
he began to work in tempera on gesso-prepared panels, which became the
medium he most frequently used.
He married Wyeth's oldest
daughter, Henriette, in 1929, and took his bride to New Mexico, the
place of his birth, for an extended honeymoon. They later
established their home in the southern part of the state in San Patricio, and Henriette
also became a prominent artist.
In the mid-1930s, he was a mural
painter, completing post-office murals in Big Springs and Dallas,
Texas, and in Alamogordo, New Mexico. During World War II, he was
a war correspondent and artist for Life magazine, a job in which he used his military background. His special assignment included a bomber base in Britain.
Matthew Baigell, Dictionary of American Art
|Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, III:|
Born: Roswell, NM, 1904
Modern Western painter, muralist, illustrator, writer
Hurd was raised in New Mexico and was educated at New Mexico Military
Institute 1917-20. Appointed to the US Militray Academy, he
resigned in 1923. He attended Haverford College, 1923-24, but
left to be a private non-paying pupil of N.C. Wyeth. He lived in
Wyeth’s barn at Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania for three years, also
studying at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Art.
Hurd worked as an illustrator, particularly for books. In 1929,
he married Wyeth’s daughter, Henriette, a professional painter and
sister of Andrew Wyeth.
By 1931, Hurd was living on a ranch in New Mexico. In 1935, he
began painting in tempera. “An impeccable craftsmanship modeled
the flanks of New Mexico hills and drew the cowboys raising dust in
rodeos under a glittering June sky.” National recognition
followed a Life article. During WWII, he was a war correspondent for Life.
By 1958, he was appointed to the President’s Commission of Fine
Arts. His official portrait of President Johnson for the White
House collection was rejected by the president and is now in the
National Portrait Gallery. In the 1960s, Hurd turned to
Peggy and Harold Samuels, The Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West.
|Biography from The Caldwell Gallery - I:|
|Peter Hurd attended West Point Military Academy from 1921-23 and then
studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. In 1929,
Hurd married Andrew Wyeth’s sister Henrietta, and moved to a ranch in
New Mexico. |
He painted with egg tempera on gesso board from 1935 until switching to
watercolors in 1960. During World War II Hurd worked as a correspondent
to Life magazine (1942-45).
Hurd became an accomplished portrait painter and book illustrator and
was widely recognized by the late ‘30s. He was commissioned to do
several public building murals as well as the official portrait of
Lyndon B. Johnson. However, this work was rejected by the
President, and it now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.
|** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.|