Peter Hurd (American 1904-1984)
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 watercolors.
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.
In 1942, Peter Hurd was elected to full membership of the National Academy of Design