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Wyeth Hurd Gallery Celebrates Four Generations of Family Painters

By Kelly Church

Wyeth Hurd Gallery in Santa Fe, NM is home to a family of artists with four generations of painters that produce work to display. According to Peter de La Fuente, the family's painting began with Newell Convers (N.C.) Wyeth, de La Fuente's great-grandfather.

"N.C. Wyeth taught three of his children to paint, along with his sons-in-law, Peter Hurd and John W. McCoy," de La Fuente said. "He was a very demanding tutor and emphasized the importance of drawing. His memorable statements and critiques are still echoed in the family to this day."

Painting is representational, according to de La Fuente, and over the years the family has borrowed what N.C. Wyeth taught and added some experimentation into the mix. The fundamentals (including light and drawing techniques) remain intact, while some family members have started to depart from realism in their work.

Painting by Henriette Wyeth

"Like any other family, we are all individuals, and the honor of standing on the shoulders of our predecessors does not necessarily mean emulating their work," de La Fuente said. "We all take our own directions and influences, and hopefully achieve something worthwhile."

De La Fuente said there's a "natural authenticity" to working as a serious painter. His grandmother, Henriette Wyeth, believed that art began with the truth, and that perspective inspires what a painting ultimately looks like.

"You always begin with the truth," Henriette said. "You can change it later."

The search for truth trickles into the rest of the artists life as well, according to de La Fuente. This gives artists a different perspective on life than non-artists may have.

Painting by Peter Hurd

The majority of the Wyeth descendants that are artists are still producing work today for the gallery. The artists' paintings are similar in style to one another, with minor variations in presentation. Some family members create paintings with more of an allusion to motion and movement, especially with animals, while others focus more on still life paintings.

"Being here in New Mexico, painting the landscape is what I live for," de La Fuente said. "I feel extremely grateful every day. I enjoy sharing the history, art and landscape with those that are like-minded."

For more information on the Wyeth clan, the Wyeth Hurd Gallery and to find out more about purchasing paintings, visit wyethhurd.com.

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