Rejected portrait of LBJ draws record crowd to Snyder museum
On this day in 1967, a record number of visitors went to the Diamond M Museum in Snyder, Texas, to see Peter Hurd's official portrait of President Lyndon B. Johnson, which Johnson had rejected and declared "the ugliest thing I ever saw." Hurd, a native of New Mexico born in 1904, studied under N. C. Wyeth in the 1920s and first came to national attention in the 1930s. Many of his paintings and murals are in Texas; perhaps the most notable mural is in the Museum of Texas Tech University, Lubbock. The Johnson portrait episode inspired the punning comment that "artists should be seen around the White House--but not Hurd." The Diamond M Museum put the portrait on display just before it was moved to the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., where it hangs today. The Diamond M Museum closed in 1992, and its collection was given to the Museum of Texas Tech University.