Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday Salon: A Favorite Painting or Two....or Three!

Martin Johnson Heade (1819 - 1904) was an American painter born in Lumberville, Pennsylvania. He received minimal training, but when young he was taught by the folk artist, Edward Hicks. Heade first exhibited his work in 1841 at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, but it wasn't until 1848 that he began exhibiting regularly. He traveled to Europe and, according to Wikipedia, became a sort of itinerant artist.

Later, he developed an interest in  landscapes and around 1859, was living in New York, having taken up residence at the Tenth Street Studio building where many artists of the Hudson River School lived. Among them: Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Edwin Church.

Despite the influence Church and other Hudson River School artists had on Heade, some art historians are not precisely sure that he should be categorized as a member of that group.

Heade traveled extensively in South America as evidenced in his paintings of lush overgrown landscape, orchids and exotic species of birds.

He eventually married and settled in St. Augustine, Florida where he lived until his death.

There's something elusive about Martin Johnson Heade's work. His paintings are moody and maybe even other-worldly. It's the tone, possibly the subject matter, the combo of colors. These are paintings that have a sense of awe about them - especially the landscapes - while at the same time they exhibit a tendency to make the viewer uneasy. 

To learn more about Martin Johnson Heade, please use this link. And this one.

To see more of his work, please check this link.

Martin Johnson Heade


  1. These are very interesting, the style, the mood and the coloring.

    It's as if a big storm is brewing in the background.

    I find these paintings eerie but yet quite good.

    Never heard of this painter, am glad his paintings were posted here.

    Another educational Saturday Salon!

  2. Thank you, Kathy. :)

    Heade was one of those painters who was almost forgotten about for awhile until he was rediscovered and now his paintings get high value at auction.

    Many of his paintings, as with most excellent artists, are instantly recognizable by style.

    And to think he was mostly self-taught.

  3. Beautiful pictures again, Yvette! Thankyou for introducing me to so many new and interesting artists. :-)

  4. My favorites are the first four!

  5. Yvette, thanks for introducing me to the paintings of Martin Johnson Heade's captivating art! I agree that there's something elusive about Heade's work; there's almost a touch of surrealism about it. You're a walking art museum, my friend; glad you're sharing your wonderful art finds with us!

  6. You're welcome, Sue. It is my pleasure.

  7. Those are beautiful, Jen. If pressed I might agree. Though there's something about his landscapes that I like very much as well.

  8. Oh, as I said, it's my pleasure to post these Saturday Salons. It really is. I enjoy it.

    You're welcome, Dorian, glad you're enjoying them too. :)

  9. I love the use of shadowing and darkness. There seems to be tension just below the surface. Love the first one of the butterfly.

  10. I recognized the artist just from the top of the first painting! He has such a rich, lush style when he's painting exotic flowers. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston had a wonderful exhibit of Heade's paintings years ago. I still have a lovely bookmark from it.

    I lived in Marshfield, MA, where those salt marsh paintings were done. The marshes are beautiful and dramatic, just as he's painted them.

  11. Ryan: Me too. That's the one that first caught my eye a while back.

  12. Hi Joan, I wondered where you've been. Missed your comments around these parts. :)

    Lucky you to have seen Heade's work in person. That's something I would very much like to to be able to do.

    Dramatic. That's the word that eluded me. :)

  13. Heade's paintings are indeed otherworldly. I had the pleasure of viewing them firsthand years ago at the Hunt Botanical Library in Pittsburgh. The collection was on display because of Heade's depictions of plants and flowers, of course, and they were quite luscious.

  14. Someday I'd love to see them myself, Mark. And to think this artist was almost forgotten for many years. Unbelievable.

    Mark, did you notice that he lived in your neck of the woods for years? (I consider the whole state of Florida your own neck of the woods.) :)

  15. I like those Bucks County painters. My husband grew up in New Hope, a stone's throw from Lumberville. We meet there, in fact.

  16. Oh Patti, I haven't been to New Hope is so many years. I love it there. We used to have such fun checking out all the antique shops and just walking around. :)

    I thought Lumberville sounded familiar.

  17. I love that I can visit your blog and always come away knowing more than I did before. Yet another artist I'd never heard of! There's almost something primeval about several of the paintings. I love his use of color!

  18. Thanks, Lauren. I keep thinking I'm going to run out of artists, but of course, I always come up with another to write about.

    Glad you're enjoying these Saturday Salons. :)

    'Primeval' good word to describe Heade's work.

  19. Oh my gosh! I read about this interesting painter in a fascinating book called 'The Summer of Hummingbirds" by Christopher Benfey. Benfey weaved an interesting, if not scholarly thesis, around Heade and Emily Dickinsin and Henry Ward Beecher.

    You can read the NY Times review here:

  20. Thanks for this, Pat. I will definitely take a look. It sounds intriguing.

  21. I did notice that Heade was in my neck of the woods, but that was long before the days of air conditioning — he was a braver man than I! Florida is such a long state, I'd guess that St. Augustine is about a 5-hour drive from where I am ...

  22. Mark, I always think that if you live in state, you should know everyone in it. HA!

    ...and that you're all neighbors. :)


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