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Martin Johnson Heade (American, 1819-1904)

Paintings

Also known as:  Heade, Martin J.

Birth Place: Lumberville (Bucks county, Pennsylvania, United States)

Biography:
Martin Johnson Heade was an American still-life painter who was active mostly in the mid and later part of the 19th century. His most famous works were his depictions of salt marshes, seascapes, lotus blossoms, and hummingbirds.

Heade was born in Pennsylvania on August 11, 1819. Young Heade began painting in 1839, and had his first exhibit in 1841 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He then travelled to Europe for a few years and had regular exhibits before settling in New York in 1859. He favored tropical plants and birds and one of his better-known paintings was "Cattleya Orchid and Three Hummingbirds," which was painted in 1871. However, his passion was for landscapes and the coastal salt marshes of New England. Heade concentrated on atmosphere and light in his landscapes, and he is sometimes categorized as a Luminist painter. One work that showcases his use of light is "Sunlight and Shadow: The Newbury Marshes," which he worked on from 1871 to 1875. Heade married in 1883 and moved to St. Augustine, Florida, where he spent the rest of his life focusing on landscapes. He died in 1904.

Heade was not well known in his lifetime and was largely forgotten until there was a resurgence in the popularity of 19th century art in the early 1940s. Today his works can be seen in most major museums in the United States, including Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, which houses 30 of his paintings along with some of his sketchbooks and drawings. His work can also be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.

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