1904 - 1984 | AmericanFrom a Flying Fortress over England
Signed, inscribed and dated: "Peter Hurd England 1942" (bottom left)
Watercolor on paper
Acclaimed American painter Peter Hurd demonstrates his mastery of capturing a specificity of place in his watercolor painting From a Flying Fortress over England
. Hailing from his acclaimed “War Sketches,” Hurd’s trademark expressive brushwork and soft palette create an immersive, evocative scene.
The acclaimed “War Sketches” series began in 1942, when Hurd was invited by Life
magazine to travel with the US Air Force as a War Correspondent. This assignment represented a convergence in Hurd’s interests, as the artist had graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell and attended West Point for two years before deciding to pursue art full-time. His recognizable looser style and use of watercolor developed as a response to the quick, transitory moments of military life during the Second World War.
Hurd painted From a Flying Fortress over England
while traveling with the US Air Force in England, and his new style was well-equipped for this scene, which depicts an interior view of an airborne B-17 bomber’s turret. Outside the turret, the English countryside stretches towards the mountains on the horizon, rendered with deep green, brown and yellow hues. The delicate application of paint gives the work an almost dreamlike quality, as if to give the viewer a glimpse into Hurd’s memory.
Hurd completed his artistic training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts before becoming a personal student of N. C. Wyeth, the notable illustrator and painter. While working as Wyeth’s assistant at his studio in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, Hurd became close with his children, Andrew and Henriette Wyeth, and married Henriette in 1929.
Today, much of Hurd’s work can be found in museum collections worldwide, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Brandywine Museum
, among others. A true documentarian of his time, Hurd’s masterful ability to imbue his paintings with a lifelike realism and sensitivity has secured his place in American history.
Unframed: 9 3/4" high x 14" wide
Framed: 13 1/2" high x 17 1/2" wide