When Time tapped Lyndon B. Johnson for its 1964 Man of the Year cover, Johnson had just completed the most successful twelve months of his public career. Having succeeded to the presidency on the death of John F. Kennedy in late 1963, he had claimed this office in his own right with a landslide victory in the recent national election. In the year preceding, his deft handling of Congress had yielded the most sweeping civil rights legislation since the Civil War, resulted in a vastly reduced deficit, and set in motion an unprecedented war on poverty.
To paint the cover portrait, Time selected two of the Southwest's most respected artists-Peter Hurd and his wife, Henriette Wyeth. Hurd and Wyeth placed Johnson against a sun-drenched Texas landscape, with the president's birthplace in the distance.