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Peter Hurd ( 1904 - 1984 )  Category ( Painters ) [suggest a correction]

Born Harold Hurd, Jr. in Roswell, New Mexico, Peter was nicknamed "Pete" by his parents and he adopted the name "Peter" as he grew older. He enrolled in New Mexico Institute in 1918 as a high school freshman, and he fully intended to pursue a military career. In 1921, he enrolled in the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. After two years, he resigned and enrolled at Haverford College in Pennsylvania.

During that time, Hurd began to study illustration under the tutelage of N.C. Wyeth, famed artist and illustrator. Hurd had a conflict at this time about whether to pursue the military or art, and it seems that Wyeth convinced him that art was the way to go. He worked an assistant at Wyeth's Chadds Ford studio for ten years. It was here that he met Wyeth's daughter, Henriette Wyeth. They married in 1929, and Peter whisked her away to his home in New Mexico where they remained for the rest of their lives.

Although Hurd served as a war correspondent for Life Magazine during World War II, his life centered on art and music. Along with his wife, Hurd painted murals, portraits and collaborated with Folkways Records to release an album, Spanish Folk Songs of New Mexico. He is known for his watercolors, luminous egg temperas and lithographs that depicted the New Mexican landscape. He was instrumental in teaching his brother-in-law, Andrew Wyeth, the intricacies of egg tempera painting.

Hurd achieved the best expression of his personal vision in the tempera paintings of the place he loved best-the small village of San Patricio, New Mexico, fifty miles west of Roswell, where he built Sentinel Ranch in the 1930s. Painting on panels covered with several coats of gesso, Hurd captured the drama of light and shadow on the hills and the vastness of sky and plain in every kind of weather.

One of Hurd's most famous paintings, a portrait of President Lyndon Johnson, was abhorred by the president. Johnson stated that this portrait was "the ugliest thing I ever saw." But, this painting today hangs in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Peter and Henriette had three children - Peter Wyeth, Ann Carol and Michael. Ann Carol lives and paints on the Hurd Ranch with her husband, Peter Rogers, another artist. Michael is the youngest son, a graduate of Stanford, a musician and a painter. He now oversees the operations of the family ranch.

Peter died on 9 July 1984 in Roswell.

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