Henriette Wyeth was the eldest daughter of Newell Convers Wyeth and Carolyn Bockius Wyeth. At the age of eleven she began studying art under the guidance of her father. Henriette inherited her father's determination -- even a crippled right hand from a childhood struggle with polio could not prevent her from painting. Her teen years were spent at the Normal Art School in Boston and later the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. After her schooling, she returned to Chadds Ford and continued her art studies under her father's guidance. It was here where she would meet Peter Hurd. Their romance became known to all and the couple would eventually marry and relocate to the Sentinel Ranch in San Patricio, New Mexico. She became the only Wyeth to leave the East Coast. The West proved to be a spring of inspiration that allowed Henriette to flourish as a painter. Her energy, elegance and vigor would be devoted not only to her art, but to her family. Her home soon drew countless guests, wishing to have their portraits painted.
Henriette painted portraits of well known subjects such as actress Helen Hayes, prize-winning author Paul Horgan and First Lady Pat Nixon. Capturing more than a likeness of her subjects, she positioned the figure to be a design of her own creation. She loved painting children as an embodiment of innocence and youth. This fleeting moment of life is also seen in still life scenery and floral compositions she painted. Her sense of emotion elevates these elements in importance. Her objects show signs of reality but always retain the mystery she believed each item possessed. Henriette Wyeth's portraits and still life paintings attest to the fact that she is considered by many art scholars to be one of the greatest women painters of the twentieth century.
"Nothing is easy. It is not easy to have a baby, for a tree to grow--but that's what is beautiful. That is part of the beauty. To wish for a life of ease is ridiculous. When I think about how I really do feel it overcomes me. Then I wonder if I've done enough." Henriette Wyeth.