Peter Hurd attended West Point Military Academy from 1921-23 and then studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. In 1929 Hurd married Andrew Wyeth's sister Henrietta and moved to a ranch in New Mexico. He painted with egg tempera on gesso board from 1935 until switching to watercolors in 1960. During World War II Hurd worked as a correspondent to Life Magazine (1942-45). Hurd became an accomplished portrait painter and book illustrator and was widely recognized by the late '30s. He was commissioned to do several public building murals as well as the official portrait of Lyndon B. Johnson. However, this work was rejected by the president it now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.