Advanced Search

Portrait of Gerald Marr

Peter Hurd, Portrait of Gerald Marr, 1952/1953, egg tempera on gesso and Masonite, 32 1/2 x 38 1/4 in. Collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art. Gift of Thomas Fortune Ryan III, 1993 (1993.38.1) Photo by Blair Clark © Hurd La Rinconada Gallery

Portrait of Gerald Marr

Artist: Peter Hurd (American, 1904 - 1984)
Date: 1952/1953
Medium: egg tempera on gesso and Masonite
Dimensions:
Image: 23 3/8 × 29 3/8 in. (59.4 × 74.6 cm)
Frame: 32 1/4 × 38 1/4 × 2 3/8 in. (81.9 × 97.2 × 6 cm)
Classification: Painting
Credit Line: Gift of Thomas Fortune Ryan III, 1993
Keywords and Associated Locations:
Object number: 1993.38.1
Description
In 1952, Peter Hurd was commissioned by Thomas Fortune Ryan III to paint the portrait of the winner of the annual Billy-the-Kid Rodeo. At the age of 15, Gerald Marr won “All-Around Cowboy” in his age division (13-15 year olds). First prize was an airplane trip to New York City and Washington D.C. and a portrait from Peter Hurd. Second prize was a new saddle. Gerald Marr would have preferred second prize. He really wanted the saddle. For a boy who practically lived in a saddle it was much preferred to a trip and a painting. During the Christmas holiday in December of 1952, Gerald Marr sat for the first portrait. It took two weeks to complete his part. During that time, Gerald stayed with his aunt and uncle, which lived next door to Peter Hurd. Gerald Marr grew up visiting his aunt and uncle. He would often play impromptu polo games with Hurd on his property. In April 1953, the portrait won the Maynard Prize at the National Academy of Design’s 128th Annual Exhibition in New York. In May or June of 1953, Peter Hurd asked Gerald Marr to sit for a second portrait. This time Hurd paid Marr $5 dollars as a model fee. Hurd asked Marr to wear the same hat and shirt which was made by his mother. In Oct. 1953, the first painting was exhibited in Tucson. After the Oct. 1953 Tucson exhibit the work was purchased by the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center as a memorial to Percy Hagerman, a well-known Colorado Springs resident and supporter of the Arts Center. After it was completed in late 1953, the second portrait was given to Thomas Fortune Ryan III to fulfill the commission. It is unknown why Thomas Ryan didn’t give the painting to Gerald Marr at that time. At some later point, the second portrait was loaned to the Old Lincoln County Memorial Commission. The holdings of the Commission transferred to what was then the Museum of New Mexico in the late 1970s but this painting fell through the cracks and remained on loan. In 1993, the Museum of New Mexico contacted Mr. Ryan regarding the possible donation of the piece to the New Mexico Museum of Art. At that time, Mr. Ryan contacted Gerald Marr asking if he would like the work. Unfortunately, Mr. Ryan left a message for Marr. It was unclear on the message whether Mr. Ryan was offering to sell or give the work to Marr. By the time Gerald was able to get back to Mr. Ryan, it was too late. He had given the work to the Museum. So why did Peter Hurd paint two nearly identical paintings? There’s no clear record as to Peter Hurd’s thinking but is probably due the popularity of the first painting. These works are often considered some of the best paintings done by Hurd.
Not on view
Publication and Exhibition History: 5/10/2002-3/17/2003 Exhibit: "Abstract to Realism"