Michener Art Museum Will Present Major Exhibition on Henriette Wyeth and Peter Hurd

Doylestown, PA – In January 2018, the James A. Michener Art Museum will present Magical & Real: Henriette Wyeth and Peter Hurd, A Retrospective, a major exhibition that explores the work, marriage, and careers of two remarkable artists who contributed to the canon and dialogue of 20th century American art. Co-organized by the Michener Art Museum and Roswell Museum and Art Center, the exhibition includes more than 100 works by Wyeth, Hurd, and family members–including Andrew Wyeth, Henriette’s brother, and N.C. Wyeth, her father–in the influential Wyeth sphere. The exhibition will be on view from January 21 through May 6, 2018.

“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,” said Kirsten M. Jensen, Ph.D., the Michener’s Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest Chief Curator. “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) were important contributors to the arts of both the Philadelphia region and the Southwest. Henriette studied with her father and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where she enrolled at the age of sixteen. She quickly earned critical recognition for her luminous and lyrical large-scale canvases of psychological presence and magic, and local recognition for her talent as a portraitist. But when she moved permanently to Roswell, New Mexico in 1940 (and her studio became Andrew’s), she was largely forgotten.

Peter Hurd, a native of Roswell, became a pupil of N.C. Wyeth’s in 1924. While studying with N.C., he met Henriette. Hurd was a significant artistic influence in the development of N.C. and Andrew’s practice; he introduced them to tempera, which became Andrew’s medium of choice. Hurd painted a number of Pennsylvania landscapes, but it is the impressive vistas, stark rolling hills, and dramatic light of the Southwest for which he is best known.

“This exhibition engages the tensions between eastern and western arts communities, tensions that permanently marked the lives and careers of Hurd and Wyeth,” said Jensen. “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.”

Magical & Real includes more than 100 works, most of which have been in private collections since they were created and thus have not been seen in public. After being on view at the Michener Art Museum, the exhibition will travel to Roswell, where it will be on display from June 15 to September 16, 2018. Co-curated by Jensen and Sara Woodbury, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at Roswell, it will be accompanied by a richly illustrated scholarly catalogue, with essays by Jensen and Woodbury as well as additional contributors.

“In addition to the works coming from private collections, several pieces in the exhibition come from the Roswell Museum and Art Center itself, so this is a great opportunity to share our Hurd and Wyeth collection with new audiences,” said Woodbury.

Magical & Real is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and Bank of America. Additional funding is provided by the Bucks County Foundation. Funding for the exhibition catalogue is provided in part by the Wyeth Foundation for American Art, Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest, and Bonnie J. O’Boyle. In-kind support is provided by Brilliant Graphics.

Advance tickets and group tours for this exhibition are available at MichenerArtMuseum.org or by calling 215.340.9800.

A member preview day will be held on Saturday, January 20, 2018, the day before the exhibition opens for public view. To become a Michener Art Museum member and receive an invitation, visit MichenerArtMuseum.org or call 215.340.9800 x110.

Henriette Wyeth, Jamie’s Pumpkins, 1968. Oil on canvas. 30 ½ x 24 ½ in. Courtesy of the Museum of Texas Tech University.