Heade, Martin Johnson, 1819-1904
Martin Johnson Heade was an accomplished landscape, portrait, and still life painter, a poet, and a naturalist. Heade is one of the most important American Romantic painters of the 19th Century and one of the major figures in the development of Luminism. Born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1819, he received his first art training around 1838 from local folk artists Edward and Thomas Hicks.
In 1858 Heade took a studio in the Tenth Street Studio building in New York City. He also kept a studio at times in Providence and in Boston. Heade made painting trips to Brazil, Nicaragua, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Panama, Jamaica, British Columbia, California and Florida. During his many travels, the artist closely observed the local flora and fauna and painted both small detailed nature studies and large landscapes.
Although Heade traveled throughout the world, the time he spent living and working in Rhode Island from the late 1850s to the early 1870s had the greatest impact on his work. His early landscapes were roughly imitative of the Hudson River School. Inspired, however, by the rich natural beauty and the unusual qualities of light and atmosphere in the Narragansett Bay region, Heade began to develop his mature Luminist style.
During the early 1880s Heade resided in New York and Washington, D.C. In 1883 he settled in St. Augustine, Florida. There Heade painted Cherokee roses, orchids, and magnolias, often depicting the same flower again and again in various stages of bloom. Heade’s work can be found in the collections of many major American museums. He died in St. Augustine in 1904.
– William Vareika