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Martin Johnson Heade ~ Still Life | Hudson River School


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Author ✍️ at 10/06/2011 06:32:00 PM



Martin Johnson Heade (originally Heed) was born in Lumberville, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania on August 11, 1819. He received his earliest artistic training from the painter Edward Hicks (1780-1849) and perhaps had additional instruction from Hicks' younger cousin Thomas, a portrait painter. The influence of these two artists is evident in Heade's earliest works, which were most often portraits painted in a rather stiff and unsophisticated manner.




Heade traveled abroad around 1838 (the precise date of this first European trip is uncertain), and settled in Rome for two years. He made his professional debut in 1841 when his Portrait of a Little Girl (present location unknown) was accepted for exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. In 1843 his Portrait of a Young Lady (present location unknown) was shown at New York's National Academy of Design.




Following a second trip to Europe in 1848 Heade attained a somewhat greater artistic sophistication and began to exhibit more regularly. He moved frequently in the late 1840s and early 1850s, establishing a pattern of itinerancy that would persist throughout his life. Heade gradually concentrated less and less on portrait painting, and by the mid-1850s was starting to experiment with landscape painting. In 1859 he settled in New York, where he met Frederic Edwin Church, who became one of his few close friends in the American art world. Heade was drawn to coastal areas and began to specialize in seascapes and views of salt marshes; soon he was receiving praise for his ability to capture changing effects of light, atmosphere, and meteorological conditions.





In the late 1850s and early 1860s he began to experiment with still-life painting, an interest he would maintain for the rest of his career. He continued to travel in the eastern United States and then, in 1863, made the first of three trips to South America. Church had already been to the tropics twice, and his large-scale paintings of dramatic South American scenes had won him widespread fame and critical approval. Although Church encouraged his friend to seek out equally spectacular scenery for his own paintings, Heade was generally interested in more intimate and less dramatic views. While in Brazil in 1863 he undertook a series of small pictures called The Gems of Brazil (c. 1863-1864, Manoogian collection), showing brightly colored hummingbirds in landscape settings. He hoped to use these images in an elaborate illustrated book he planned to write about the tiny birds, but the project was never completed. Nevertheless, he maintained his interest in the subject and in the 1870s began to paint pictures combining hummingbirds with orchids and other flowers in natural settings. During these years he continued to paint marsh scenes, seascapes, still lifes, and the occasional tropical landscape.





In later life Heade's wanderings took him to various spots, including British Columbia and California. Never fully accepted by the New York art establishment--he was, for instance, denied membership in the Century Association and was never elected an associate of the National Academy of Design--Heade eventually settled in Saint Augustine, Florida, in 1883. He was married that same year and at last enjoyed a reasonably stable domestic and professional existence. He also formed the first productive relationship of his career with a patron, the wealthy oil and railroad magnate Henry Morrison Flagler, who would commission and purchase several dozen pictures over the next decade. Heade continued to paint subjects that he had previously specialized in, such as orchids and hummingbirds, but he now also turned his attention to Florida marsh and swamp scenes and still lifes of cut magnolia leaves and flowers. Heade and his work were largely forgotten by the time of his death on in St. Augustine on September 4, 1904, and it was only with the general revival of interest in American art in the 1940s that attention was once again turned to him and his reputation restored. | © National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.














































































Martin Johnson Heade (Lumberville, 11 agosto 1819 – St. Augustine, 4 settembre 1904) è stato un pittore Statunitense. Artista romantico, si dedicò in prevalenza alla riproduzione di fiori, uccelli tropicali e ritratti. Più di un terzo della sua opera è però costituito da paesaggi, per i quali Heade è stato accomunato, non senza critiche, alla Hudson River School ed alla corrente Luminista.
Figlio di un magazziniere, Heade nacque in un piccolo borgo lungo il fiume Delaware, in Pennsylvania. Fece i suoi studi d'arte come allievo di Edward Hicks e iniziò a produrre quadri negli anni quaranta. Allestì la sua prima mostra nel 1841 presso la Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts di Filadelfia, cui seguì nel 1843 un'esposizone alla National Academy of Design di New York. Dal 1848 in poi Heade espose con continuità.
Ma già da tempo Heade aveva cominciato a viaggiare. All'inizio andò in Europa, fermandosi due anni a Roma, poi, dal 1863, si dedicò ai paesi tropicali, visitando più volte il Brasile, dal 1863 al 1866, quindi il Nicaragua nel 1870 e infine Colombia, Panamá e Giamaica. Si definì per questo un artista "itinerante".
La sua base, comunque, dal 1859 fu New York, dove conobbe John Frederick Kensett, Sanford Robinson Gifford, Albert Bierstadt e Frederic Edwin Church di cui divenne amico. Frequentò pertanto i protagonisti della Hudson River School rimanendone solo parzialmente influenzato, e che lo introdussero alla pittura paesaggistica.
Alternò quindi i paesaggi dei dintorni di New York alle orchidee e ai colibrì tropicali che ritraeva durante i suoi viaggi in Sud America.
Nel 1883, a 64 anni, prese moglie e si stabilì a St. Augustine, in Florida. Fu questo il periodo delle magnolie, delle vedute della Florida e delle nature morte con fiori non esotici.
Morì a St Augustine nel 1904, all'età di 85 anni.
Heade non fu mai famoso in vita e per la prima parte del XX secolo fu addirittura dimenticato. I suoi lavori attirarono l'attenzione degli studiosi, degli storici dell'arte e dei collezionisti solo attorno al 1940. In particolare, destò l'interesse dei critici una mostra del 1943 al Museum of Modern Art dove compariva il suo "Thunderstorm Over Narragansett Bay" del 1898. Le sue opere furono allora ricercate e riscoperte all'interno di collezioni private e di dimenticati magazzini. Molte di esse furono trovate occasionalmente in luoghi alquanto improbabili, come le autorimesse in vendita o i mercatini delle pulci.
Heade fu subito riconosciuto come uno dei maggiori artisti americani e oggi i più importanti musei degli Stati Uniti espongono i suoi quadri.
In base ai suoi paesaggi egli fu considerato all'inizio come un artista appartenente alla Hudson River School, ma ad un esame più attento si notò come i paesaggi stessi costituivano solo uno scarso 40% della sua produzione, e di questo solo un quarto appariva riconducibile allo stile della Hudson River School. Pertanto un giudizio sulla sua collocazione stilistica deve essere ancora formulato.
Nel 2004 Heade fu onorato con l'emissione di un francobollo delle Poste americane che riproduceva il suo quadro "Magnolia gigante su un panno di velluto blu". Heade ha ispirato artisti contemporanei come David Bierk e Ian Hornak. | Wikipedia


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