Peter Hurd worked as N.C. Wyeth’s assistant and studied under him for a number of years. In 1929, he married Wyeth’s daughter, Henriette Wyeth. Peter Hurd is best known for his watercolors, luminous egg temperas and lithographs depicting the New Mexican landscape he loved. Hurd was an early pioneer of the Italian renaissance medium of egg tempera. He even introduced his young brother-in-law, Andrew Wyeth, to egg tempera. Eventually, N.C. Wyeth adopted the medium, as did his son-in-law John W. McCoy.
In 1967, Hurd painted what would have been Lyndon B. Johnson’s official portrait. President Johnson only allowed Hurd one sitting, during which time Johnson fell asleep. Hurd hence had to use photographs of Johnson to finish the painting. Johnson did not like his portrait, declaring it “the ugliest thing I ever saw.” The painting is now part of the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in the Smithsonian Institution. Hurd’s Time magazine cover portrait of Charles C. Tillinghast, Jr. was featured in a National Portrait Gallery exhibit of the magazine’s cover art that opened in 1969.