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Martin Johnson Heade Biography
American Hudson River School painter
Also known as: Martin J. Heade.
HEADE, Martin Johnson,
artist, born in Bucks county, Pa. Martin
Johnson Heade began
his career as a portrait-painter, studied in
Italy, traveled in the west, and then
settled in Boston as a landscape-painter.
This brought him into relations with Rev.
James C. Fletcher, who induced him to visit
Brazil with a view to preparing an
illustrated work on hum-ruing-birds. The
difficulties then existing in properly
chromo-lithographing his fine designs caused
the abandonment of the painting, but the Martin Johnson Heade paintings were purchased by Sir Morton Peto
and taken to London. The artist has painted
many western and tropical scenes, also views
on the Hudson and the Massachusetts coast,
which are characterized by rich effects of
color and light, and by poetic sentiment.
His studio is in New York city. Among best-known Martin Johnson Heade paintings are "High Tide on the
Marshes," " Nicaragua., .... Off the
California Coast" (which was exhibited at
the Centennial exhibition at Philadelphia
in 1876), and "South American Scene." Martin Johnson Heade painter has
recently sent to exhibitions of the Academy
"On the St. John's River, Florida " (1885),
and " Sunset, Florida" (1886).
|"In the years from 1861 to 1863, which Martin Johnson Heade spent in Boston, Heade interpreted the chaste coastal landscape in a manner uniquely his own. In the latter half of 1863, Martin Johnson Heade took a trip to Brazil and stayed on through March 1864. His purpose in going there was to illustrate a complete series of South American hummingbirds, which Martin Johnson Heade painter hoped to have published in Britain. Though he failed in that endeavor, hummingbirds in tropical settings continued as a staple subject in Martin Johnson Heade work. The flowers painter set out again for South America in 1866; four years later, he made a third trip.|
"Views of New England and New Jersey, along
with floral still lifes and recurring scenes
of the tropics, dominated Martin Johnson Heade work from the early 186os to the
early 188os, those years when the romantic artist produced the
landscapes for which he is most remembered today. Though
their effect was often described as
disquieting, with them Heade developed one
of the best instincts in the Hudson River
School for capturing nature's remote,
"Heade exhibited widely - at the National Academy of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art, the American Art-Union, the Boston Athenaeum, and the Royal Academy in London - but achieved at best only moderate recognition. Little written documentation exists about him, and Martin Johnson Heade left no identifiable body of writing.
"In 1883, he married and moved to Saint
Augustine, Florida, where Martin Johnson Heade painter continued to paint
landscapes and flower pieces. In New York, the artist was virtually forgotten.
Martin Johnson Heade paintings, which
were rediscovered during the revival of
interest in Hudson River School painting in
the 1940s, has been increasingly appreciated
in the intervening years and is today
accorded major status."
- From "American Paradise: The World of the Hudson River School".
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