Martin Johnson Heade – American 1819-1904

Martin Johnson Heade
Martin Johnson Heade as a Young Man
by Thomas Hicks, early 1840s, collection of
Mercer Museum of Bucks County Historical Society.
I have found that Martin Johnson Heade's paintings are popular with many portrait painters. Heade was born in Lumberville, Pennsylvania. He studied portrait painting under the Quaker artists Edward and Thomas Hicks. He began his professional career as a portrait artist while still in his twenties, supporting himself while traveling to France, Italy and England to study and to refine his skills.

In the 1850's, Heade abruptly changed course. He moved to New York City where he acquired a studio in the Tenth Street Studio Building (see book on this building), near landscape painters Frederic Edwin Church, John C. Kensett, and Fitz Hugh Lane. He gave up portraiture and began to experiment with landscapes and shore scenes. A deep reverence for nature attracted him to the Luminist school of painting and, along with Kensett, Lane and Sanford Gifford, Martin Heade became a key figure in this movement. These artists experimented with colored light as it affects the atmosphere of a painting. Luminism, in its concern with the effect of light, is now seen as a precursor of Impressionism. Heade's shore scenes and landscapes are rich in color, and convey a mood by color contrasts and elongated forms, though they forsake realistic detailing.

Heade's interest in hummingbirds has been characterized as an obsession. In 1863, he went to Brazil to prepare the illustrations for a book that was never published. By the 1870's, he had a number of paintings in various combinations of orchids and hummingbirds, all in the luminist style. He moved to St. Augustine, Florida in 1885 painting seascapes and birds until he died, nineteen years later, in 1904.

Search for more Martin Johnson Heade items on AMAZON.
Fine Art Botanicals Notecard Box Cards: 20; teNeues Publishing Company; (Jun 15, 2014)

From a desert reed and vibrant orchids to tropical flowers and a lovely garden scene, these artworks present our favorite plants and flowers. Delicate hummingbirds fly next to orchids in a beautifully composed painting by botanical master Martin Johnson Heade. Chrysanthemums burst with a bright medley of colors. And Jean Benner-Fries's eye-catching exotic flowers evoke an earthly Eden. With variety and plenty of color, these fine art botanicals will surely appeal to flower-lovers, gardening aficionados, and everyone in between. 20 notecards, 4 each of 5 images. 20 envelopes. Sturdy, reusable box, great for storage.

Martin Johnson Heade by Theodore E., Stebbins, Jr., Janet L. Comey, Karen E. Quinn, Jim Wright – Hardcover: 208 pages; Yale University Press (Oct 1999)

An independent thinker and a world traveler, American artist Martin Johnson Heade developed a singular approach to both landscape and still life painting, creating works of great significance and originality in both genres. This splendidly illustrated book focuses on the themes in Heade`s work, among them seascapes, salt marshes, tropical landscapes, hummingbirds, orchids, and his late work in Florida.

Martin Johnson Heade in Florida by Roberta Smith Favis, Martin Johnson Heade – Hardcover: 184 pages; University Press of Florida (Sep 1, 2003)

The Life and Work of Martin Johnson Heade: A Critical Analysis and Catalogue Raisonne by Theodore E. Jr Stebbins – Hardcover: 400 pages

Publisher: Yale University Press; 2Rev Ed edition (January 11, 2000)
This elegantly illustrated book brings a new perspective to Martin Johnson Heade and his works, portraying the artist as one of the most original and productive of the nineteenth century. The book reproduces Heade`s 620 known paintings, many newly discovered. These include a spectacular array of landscapes, seascapes, still lifes, tropical studies, and original compositions pairing orchids and hummingbirds.

Martin Johnson Heade: A Survey: 1840-1900 Barbara Novak Timothy A. Eaton – Hardcover: 80 pages; Eaton Fine Arts Inc (Jun 1997)

Martin Johnson Heade (1819-1904) was under-appreciated during his lifetime, forgotten in death, and rediscovered four decades later, yet today he is recognized as one of the most important artists America has produced. This book surveys Heade's long and diverse career and includes examples of his portraits, landscapes, hummingbirds, still lifes, and flowers.

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