Peter Hurd (1904-1984) and Henriette Wyeth (1907-1997) were important contributors to the arts of both the Philadelphia region and the Southwest. Peter Hurd, a native of Roswell, attended Haverford College, near Philadelphia and later studied with N.C. Wyeth in Chadds Ford. While there, he met Wyeth’s eldest daughter, Henriette, a talented painter whose lyrical large scale canvases had quickly earned her critical recognition following her graduation from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. The two were married in 1929, and—torn by ties to both the east coast and the southwest—relocated permanently to New Mexico in 1937. There, both artists were rebranded as Regionalists, a characterization that marginalized their respective contributions to American art.
The exhibition re-situates Hurd and Wyeth into the larger dialogue of American art in the 20th century, with the aim of broadening awareness of the entire scope of their work while grappling with the tensions that exist between the eastern and western arts communities. It will also reintroduce audiences familiar only with the name Wyeth to the significant body of work produced by the woman that Andrew Wyeth felt was the most talented of all N.C. Wyeth’s children.
Accompanied by a richly illustrated scholarly catalogue with essays by Jensen and Woodbury, Magical & Real will include approximately 70 paintings, augmented by video and audio recordings not yet seen or heard in public, that document their lives and careers.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether or not you go, The Artifice of Blue Light: Henriette Wyeth is the story of one of the great women artists of the twentieth century. Henriette Wyeth (1907-1997) stands today at the head of the only true dynasty in American painting. Her father, the great N. C. Wyeth, taught Henriette her first lessons in form and light alongside her brother Andrew. Her husband, the artist Peter Hurd, contributed his own stock to this ongoing dynasty, opening the West to this illustrious family. Here is the first book devoted to this painter, whose works hang in the permanent collections of New York's Metropolitan Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian Institution, and other great collections worldwide. The late Pulitzer Prize-winning author Paul Horgan wrote that Henriette Wyeth's work "belongs in the first rank of contemporary American painters. For by the love, compassion, and strength of her nature she transcends the mission of the limner and enters into the company of those master artists in painting, music, and literature whose bequest to the human record retains the essence of life itself." Winner, Border Regional Library Association Award, 1994-95