Portrait of Martin Johnson Heade

Martin Johnson Heade Painting Reproductions 2 of 8

1819-1904

American Hudson River School Painter

Martin Johnson Heade (August 11, 1819 - September 4, 1904) was a prolific American painter known for his salt marsh landscapes, seascapes, portraits of tropical birds, and still lifes. His painting style and subject matter, while derived from the romanticism of the time, is regarded by art historians as a significant departure from that of his peers.

Stylistic classification
Art historians have come to disagree with the common view that Heade is a Hudson River School painter, a view given wide currency by Heade's inclusion in a landmark exhibition of Hudson River School landscapes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1987. The leading Heade scholar and author of Heade's Catalogue raisonne, Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., wrote some years after the 1987 Hudson River School exhibition that "...other scholars myself included have increasingly come to doubt that Heade is most usefully seen as standing within that school." According to the Heade catalogue raisonne, only around 40 percent of his paintings were landscapes. The remaining majority were still lifes, paintings of birds, and portraits, subjects unrelated to the Hudson River School. Of Heade's landscapes, perhaps only 25 percent were painted of traditional Hudson River School subject matter. Heade had less interest in topographically accurate views than the Hudson River painters, and instead focused on mood and the effects of light. Stebbins writes, "If the paintings of the shore as well as the more conventional compositions...might lead one to think of Heade as a Hudson River School painter, the [marsh scenes] make it clear that he was not."

Childhood and early career
Heade was born in Lumberville, Pennsylvania, a small hamlet along the Delaware River in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and spent his childhood there. His family owned the building in which is now The Lumberville Store and Post Office, the village's sole general store. Historians believe he received his first art training from the folk artist Edward Hicks, who lived in the area. By 1839 Heade had painted his first portraits and two years later had exhibited his first work at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philaldephia. Through the mid-1850s, Heade made his living as a travelling portrait painter.

Transition to landscape painting
Around 1857 Heade became interested in landscape painting, partly through his meeting of established artists John Frederick Kensett and Benjamin Champney in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Heade moved to New York City and took a studio in a building that housed many of the famous Hudson River School artists of the time. He became socially and professionally acquainted with them, and struck up a particularly close friendship with Frederic Edwin Church.

Tropical subjects
Heade's interest in the tropics was piqued at least partly by the impact of Church's monumental painting Heart of the Andes (1859), now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Heade travelled to Brazil from 1863 to 1864 to paint an extensive series of small works, eventually numbering over forty, depicting hummingbirds. He intended the series for a planned book titled "The Gems of Brazil", but the book was never published due to financial difficulty and Heade's concerns about the quality of the reproductions. Heade nevertheless returned to the tropics twice, in 1866 journeying to Nicaragua, and in 1870 to Colombia, Panama, and Jamaica. He continued to paint romantic works of tropical birds and lush foliage into his late career.

Salt marsh scenes
Heade's primary interest in landscape, and the works for which he is perhaps best known today, was the New England coastal salt marsh. Contrary to typical Hudson River School displays of scenic mountains, valleys, and waterfalls, Heade's marsh landscapes avoided depictions of grandeur. They focused instead on the horizontal expanse of subdued scenery, and employed repeating motifs that included small haystacks and diminutive figures. Heade also concentrated on the depiction of light and atmosphere in his marsh scenes. These and similar works have led some historians to characterize Heade as a Luminist painter. In 1883 Heade moved to Saint Augustine, Florida and took as his primary landscape subject the surrounding subtropical marshland.

Still Lifes
During his later years in St. Augustine Heade also painted numerous still lifes of southern flowers, especially magnolia blossoms laid on velvet. This was a continuation of an interest in still life that Heade had developed since the 1860s. His earlier works in this genre typically depict a display of flowers arranged in an ornate vase of small or medium size on a cloth-covered table. Heade was the only 19th century American artist to create such an extensive body of work in both still life and landscape.

Recognition and museum collections
Heade was not a famous artist during his time, and for much of the first part of the 20th century was nearly forgotten. A re-awakening of interest in American 19th century art around World War II sparked new appreciation of his work, and art historians have come to consider him as one of the most important American artists of his generation. His works are in most major American museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, which owns the nation's outstanding collection of his works, including about thirty paintings as well as numerous drawings and sketchbooks; the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. In 1999 and 2000 he was the subject of a major exhibit organized by Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., that travelled from the Museum of Fine Arts to the National Gallery of Art, ending at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 2004, Heade was honored with a stamp from the U.S. Postal Service. As Stebbins notes in his writings, Heade's work has also been copied and forged extensively, though it should be noted that since Heade was not popular during his lifetime there were few contemporaries that emulated his work, so 20th century copies are readily apparent as fakes since it takes oil paint decades to dry out and harden.

174 Martin Johnson Heade Paintings

Orchid and Two Hummingbirds, 1872 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

Orchid and Two Hummingbirds 1872

Oil Painting
$751
SKU: HMJ-3707
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: unknown
Private Collection

Jungle Orchids and Hummingbirds, 1872 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

Jungle Orchids and Hummingbirds 1872

Oil Painting
$977
Canvas Print
$66.85
SKU: HMJ-3708
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: 45.7 x 58.4 cm
Yale University Art Gallery, Connecticut, USA

Orchids and Hummingbird, 1872 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

Orchids and Hummingbird 1872

Oil Painting
$751
SKU: HMJ-3709
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: unknown
Private Collection

Pink Orchids and Hummingbird on a Twig, 1875 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

Pink Orchids and Hummingbird on a Twig 1875

Oil Painting
$1002
SKU: HMJ-3710
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: 45.7 x 61 cm
Private Collection

Two Fighting Hummingbirds with Two Orchids, 1875 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

Two Fighting Hummingbirds with Two Orchids 1875

Oil Painting
$1081
SKU: HMJ-3711
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: unknown
Private Collection

Fighting Hummingbirds with Pink Orchid, c.1875/90 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

Fighting Hummingbirds with Pink Orchid c.1875/90

Oil Painting
$607
Canvas Print
$50.00
SKU: HMJ-3712
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: 40.5 x 35.3 cm
Private Collection

Vase of Mixed Flowers, c.1872 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

Vase of Mixed Flowers c.1872

Oil Painting
$1180
Canvas Print
$50.00
SKU: HMJ-3713
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: 43.8 x 34.3 cm
Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Massachusetts, USA

Coast of Jamaica, 1874 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

Coast of Jamaica 1874

Oil Painting
$1385
Canvas Print
$50.00
SKU: HMJ-3714
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: 67 x 110.8 cm
Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Massachusetts, USA

Red Rose with Ruby Throat, c.1875/83 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

Red Rose with Ruby Throat c.1875/83

Oil Painting
$362
Canvas Print
$50.00
SKU: HMJ-3715
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: 29.8 x 25 cm
Private Collection

Orchids, Passion Flowers and Hummingbird, c.1875/90 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

Orchids, Passion Flowers and Hummingbird c.1875/90

Oil Painting
$825
SKU: HMJ-3716
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: unknown
Private Collection

Two Hummingbirds with a Pink Orchid, c.1875/90 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

Two Hummingbirds with a Pink Orchid c.1875/90

Oil Painting
$881
SKU: HMJ-3717
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: unknown
Private Collection

Orchid and Hummingbirds near a Mountain Lake, c.1875/90 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

Orchid and Hummingbirds near a Mountain Lake c.1875/90

Oil Painting
$751
SKU: HMJ-3718
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: unknown
Private Collection

Heliodore's Woodstar and a Pink Orchid, c.1875/90 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

Heliodore's Woodstar and a Pink Orchid c.1875/90

Oil Painting
$825
SKU: HMJ-3719
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: unknown
Private Collection

White Orchid and Hummingbird, c.1875/90 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

White Orchid and Hummingbird c.1875/90

Oil Painting
$715
Canvas Print
$50.00
SKU: HMJ-3720
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: 50.8 x 30.5 cm
Private Collection

White Brazilian Orchid, c.1875/90 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

White Brazilian Orchid c.1875/90

Oil Painting
$736
SKU: HMJ-3721
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: unknown
Private Collection

An Amethyst Hummingbird with a White Orchid, c.1875/90 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

An Amethyst Hummingbird with a White Orchid c.1875/90

Oil Painting
$736
Canvas Print
$50.00
SKU: HMJ-3722
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: unknown
Private Collection

White Rose against a Cloudy Sky, 1876 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

White Rose against a Cloudy Sky 1876

Oil Painting
$575
SKU: HMJ-3723
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: 43.8 x 28.5 cm
Private Collection

Becalmed, Long Island Sound, 1876 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

Becalmed, Long Island Sound 1876

Oil Painting
$529
SKU: HMJ-3724
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: unknown
Private Collection

York Harbor, Coast of Maine, 1877 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

York Harbor, Coast of Maine 1877

Oil Painting
$941
Canvas Print
$50.00
SKU: HMJ-3725
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: 38.7 x 76.8 cm
Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, USA

Magnolias on a Wooden Table, c.1883/88 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

Magnolias on a Wooden Table c.1883/88

Oil Painting
$926
SKU: HMJ-3726
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: unknown
Private Collection

White Cherokee Roses in a Salamander Vase, c.1883/95 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

White Cherokee Roses in a Salamander Vase c.1883/95

Oil Painting
$1002
SKU: HMJ-3727
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: unknown
Private Collection

Cherokee Roses in a Glass, c.1883/95 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

Cherokee Roses in a Glass c.1883/95

Oil Painting
$941
SKU: HMJ-3728
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: unknown
Private Collection

Golden Marguerites, c.1883/95 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

Golden Marguerites c.1883/95

Oil Painting
$1098
SKU: HMJ-3729
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: unknown
Private Collection

Yellow Daisies in a Bowl, c.1883/95 by Martin Johnson Heade | Painting Reproduction

Yellow Daisies in a Bowl c.1883/95

Oil Painting
$1119
SKU: HMJ-3730
Martin Johnson Heade
Original Size: unknown
Private Collection

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