21 November 2013

Gems on branch

Blue Morpho Butterfly (c. 1864-1865)

Martin Johnson Heade (1819–1904) was born in Lumberville, Pennsylvania, USA, a small hamlet along the Delaware River.

By 1839 he had painted his first portraits. After two trips to Europe in 1841 and 1848, he became an itinerant artist.

Around 1857 his attraction to landscape painting was growing, partly through his meeting of the established artists John Frederick Kensett and Benjamin Champney in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Heade wrote to his friend John Russell Bartlett, I find landscape painting not quite so easy as I supposed.

Autumn in the White Mountains of New Hampshire (2013) Denis Tangney Jr

He moved to New York City in 1859 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 particularly with Frederic Edwin Church, who depicted spectacular tropical forests, waterfalls, volcanoes and icebergs (take a look at his gorgeous landscapes here).

Heade's interest in the tropics was piqued at least partly by the impact of Church's Heart of the Andes (1859), a monumental painting.

He traveled to Brazil from 1863 to 1864 to paint an extensive series of small works depicting hummingbirds. He returned to the tropics twice, in 1866 journeying to Nicaragua and in 1870 to Colombia, Panama, and Jamaica. These works combine traditional features of both landscape and still life along with elements of ornithological and botanical illustration.

Martin Johnson Heade continued to paint tropical birds and lush foliage into his late career.

 Fort-Tailed Woodnymph (c. 1864-1865)

 Golden Marguerites

 Hooded Visorbearer (c. 1864-1865)

 Hummingbirds and Apple Blossoms (c. 1865)

 Orchid and Hummingbirds Near a Mountain Lake (c. 1875-1890)

 Passion Flowers and Hummingbirds (c. 1870-1883)

 Red Rose with Ruby Throat (c. 1875-1883)

 Ruby Throat of North America (1865)

 Snowcap (c. 1864-1865)

 Tropical Landscape with Ten Hummingbirds (1870)

 Two Fighting Hummingbirds with Two Orchids (1875)

 Two Hooded Visorbearer Hummingbirds (c. 1864-1865)

 Two Hummingbirds Garding an Egg (1864)

 Two Sun Gems on a Branch (c. 1864-1865)

White Brazilian Orchid