Michener Art Mu­seum

The Michener Art Mu­seum high­lights Hen­ri­ette Wyeth and Pe­ter Hurd in a ret­ro­spec­tive

American Fine Art Magazine - - My View -

The Michener Art Mu­seum high­lights Hen­ri­ette Wyeth and Pe­ter Hurd in a ret­ro­spec­tive

Thirty years ago, an ex­hi­bi­tion, An Amer­i­can Vi­sion:three Gen­er­a­tions of Wyeth Art, brought fo­cused on the in­flu­ences of the males in the great Amer­i­can artis­tic lin­eage—n.c.wyeth, An­drew Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth.the women in the fam­ily had an im­por­tant in­flu­ence, how­ever and es­tab­lished their own rep­u­ta­tions as artists.an­drew and Hen­ri­ette’s sis­ter Carolyn in­tro­duced Jamie to oils, and Hen­ri­ette’s hus­band, Pe­ter Hurd, in­tro­duced N.C. and An­drew to egg tem­pera.

An ex­hi­bi­tion, Mag­i­cal & Real: Hen­ri­ette Wyeth and Pe­ter Hurd,a Ret­ro­spec­tive, rec­ti­fies part of the omis­sion. On view at the James A. Michener Art Mu­seum in Doylestown, Penn­syl­va­nia, from Jan­uary 21 to May 6, it will travel to the Roswell Mu­seum and Art Cen­ter from June 15 to Septem­ber 16. Co-cu­rated by Kirsten M. Jensen, chief cu­ra­tor at the Michener, and Sara Wood­bury, cu­ra­tor of col­lec­tions and ex­hi­bi­tions at Roswell, the ex­hi­bi­tion will be ac­com­pa­nied by an il­lus­trated, schol­arly catalog. Jensen ex­plains,“very lit­tle at­ten­tion has been given to N.C.’S role in shap­ing and guid­ing the artis­tic de­vel­op­ment and ca­reer of his daugh­ters Hen­ri­ette,ann and Carolyn. Mag­i­cal & Real is the

first ex­hi­bi­tion to ex­plore the work and ca­reer of N.C.’S el­dest child, Hen­ri­ette, and N.C.’S stu­dent Pe­ter Hurd, whom Hen­ri­ette mar­ried in 1929.

It’s also the first schol­arly project to probe fam­ily archives to flesh out their re­la­tion­ships to other fam­ily mem­bers, par­tic­u­larly to N.C. and An­drew.” Hen­ri­ette Wyeth (1907-1997) and Pe­ter Hurd (1904-1984) met when both were study­ing with N.C. Hen­ri­ette was from the bu­colic and fer­tile Brandy wine val­ley and Hurd from the rugged desert of Roswell, New Mex­ico. Jensen notes, “This ex­hi­bi­tion en­gages the ten­sions be­tween eastern and western arts com­mu­ni­ties, ten­sions that per­ma­nently marked the lives and ca­reers of Hurd and Wyeth. Hen­ri­ette’s work changed sub­stan­tially in both style and tone fol­low­ing their move to New Mex­ico. Mag­i­cal & Real will broaden the aware­ness of the en­tire scope of the cou­ple’s work in the re­gions with which they are most closely as­so­ci­ated.”

Per­haps Hurd’s most iconic im­age is A Por­trait of Ger­ald Marr, 1952. In 2009 Marr re­called,“this was a spe­cial prize com­mis­sioned from Pe­ter

Hurd in 1952. I was 14 or 15. It was a prize for win­ning the all-around at the kids’ rodeo in the 12 through 15 age group. It just hap­pened to be me.” Marr later be­came a suc­cess­ful race­horse trainer.the con­fi­dent young horse­man stands against the south­ern New Mex­ico land­scape with an aura of ease and pride in his ac­com­plish­ment. Hen­ri­ette was the only Wyeth to leave the East Coast and fell in love with the new en­vi­ron­ment of the desert South­west. She was known for her imag­i­na­tive still lifes and for her por­traits.among her sit­ters were He­len Hayes, Pat Nixon, fam­ily friend Paul Hor­gan and mem­bers of her own fam­ily. Her Por­trait of Pe­ter Hurd, 1936, il­lus­trates her Wyeth genes and train­ing and de­picts her hus­band among field sketches and a paint­ing of a New Mex­ico land­scape.

The Pulitzer Prize-win­ning Hor­gan wrote bi­ogra­phies of both artists. He quoted Hen­ri­ette, “The rea­son I paint flow­ers is that I see them fad­ing.this re­minds me of the eter­nally re­newed, the spring time, all of that, be­cause I feel death and dis­as­ter lurk right be­hind them.”

Yet, her phi­los­o­phy was,“i don’t know what is im­por­tant and what is unim­por­tant, so I call it all im­mensely im­por­tant.”

Michener Art Mu­seum • 138 S. Pine Street • Doylestown, PA 18901 t: (215) 340-9800 • www.mich­ener­art­mu­seum.org

Wal­ton Wray Wig­gins, Pe­ter Hurd and Hen­ri­ette Wyeth, 1944. Sil­ver­point on pa­per. Pur­chase of the Roswell Mu­seum and Art Cen­ter Foun­da­tion Ac­qui­si­tions Fund.

Hen­ri­ette Wyeth (1907-1997), The Mu­sic Box, 1976. Oil on can­vas, 67½ x 29 in. Al­bu­querque Mu­seum. Mu­seum pur­chase 1987 Gen­eral Obli­ga­tion Bonds.

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