December 27, 2017

“Magical & Real” at Michener Art Museum

“PORTRAIT OF MY FATHER”: Henriette Wyeth’s 1937 painting of her father, artist N.C. Wyeth, is featured in “Magical & Real: Henriette Wyeth and Peter Hurd, A Retrospective,” running from January 21 through May 16 at the Michener Museum of Art in Doylestown, Pa. The exhibit also features the work of Henriette’s husband, artist Peter Hurd.

In January, the Michener Art Museum will present “Magical & Real: Henriette Wyeth and Peter Hurd, A Retrospective,” an 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 16.

“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, PhD, 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 16. 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, 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 on the develop 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 art 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.”

Advance tickets and group tours for this exhibition are available at or by calling (215) 340-9800.

The Michener Art Museum is located at 138 South Pine Street in Doylestown, Pa. It is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.