The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985 Page: 350
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
of the play of light. His best work radiated an austerity and grandeur
that spoke to the layman as well as the expert. Behind his painting lay
a strong cultural traditionalism: "The artist I said is the historian of
the present and it is only in linking the past with the present-viz with
his own lived experience that he can make an enduring thing. Trite
but true..." (p. 221)
Hurd was uncomfortable in the settled East because it seemed tame
and lacked powerful contrasts. "The feeling of security and safety[,] a
feeling that here the struggle for existence is reduced" (p. 73) was domi-
nant in Chadd's Ford, Pennsylvania, where his wife's family lived.
"Too many neighbors!" (p. 73) His painter's eye, on the other hand,
never tired of the Southwest and often summoned up links to a dra-
matic artistic past. "The weather has been simply gorgeous-mag-
nificent skies sweeping across infinite distances shimmering mirages
thunderstorms that fly over the plains with the awful majesty of aveng-
ing angels in a renaissance painting," he wrote Henriette in 1935 (p.
143). While he loved the land he also saw the people as part of nature's
scene and their festivals and ceremonies as links with ongoing tradition
that outlasted specific cultures.
The editor has selected from about a thousand of Hurd's letters
and has included additional material from his wartime journals and
an unpublished autobiography. The journal entries will fascinate stu-
dents of World War II as well as those of art and culture. The critical
apparatus is adequate, though it would have been more convenient to
have a single biographical glossary rather than to identify people
where they appear in the texts. Most of the documents relate to the
period 1921-1946. Paul Horgan's introduction is an outstanding state-
ment of the differences between this century's traditionalists and
modernists, cosmopolitans and regionalists in the arts. This book de-
picts a sensitive man as well as a distinguished painter and makes the
reader want more. Peter Hurd now awaits his biographer.
University of Oklahoma H. WAYNE MORGAN
Edward F. Beale and the American West. By Gerald Thompson. Al-
buquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1983. Pp. xv+3o6.
Preface, notes, maps, illustrations, afterword, bibliography, index.
Edward F. Beale, who for half a century was prominently associated
with the beginnings of California's involvement with the United States
and its economic progress, surely deserves this modern biography by
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985, periodical, 1984/1985; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101210/m1/398/?rotate=270: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.