American, 1819-1904

"Vase of Red Roses", ca. 1880s

oil on canvas
signed lower left "M J Heade"
20 x 12 inches

  • Provenance: Henry Melville Fuller, New York, New York; with Sloan and Roman, Inc., New York, 1972; Private Collection
  • Exhibited: Jacksonville, Florida, Cummer Gallery of Art, "Mid-Nineteenth Century American Painting from the Collections of Henry M. Fuller and William H. Gerdts", 1966; Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, Brandywine River Museum, "Flower Painting: an American Tradition", June 2 - September 9, 1984 (label on the reverse).
  • Literature: William H. Gerdts, "Mid-Nineteenth Century American Painting from the Collections of Henry M. Fuller and William H. Gerdts", (Jacksonville, Florida: Cummer Gallery of Art, 1966), cat. no. 30.; Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., "The Life and Works of Martin Johnson Heade", (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1975), p. 268, cat. no. 289.; Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., "The Life and Work of Martin Johnson Heade", (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), p. 330, cat. no. 522.

    Framed dimensions: 29 x 21 x 3 1/2 inches

    Martin Johnson Heade was born in Lumberville, Pennsylvania in 1819. His earliest training was with painter Edward Hicks and possibly Hicks' cousin Thomas, a portrait painter. Their influence is evident in Heade's early works which were most often portraits that appear stiff and naive. Around 1838, Heade traveled to Europe and spent two years in Rome. He made his professional debut at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1841. In 1843, he exhibited a portrait at the National Academy of Design.

    Following another trip to Europe in 1848, Heade began to exhibit more regularly. He moved frequently and would continue this itinerant pattern throughout his life. By the 1850s he was moving away from portraits and experimenting with landscape painting. In 1859, while living in New York City, he met Frederic Edwin Church who would become a close friend. Heade's landscapes from this period are primarily coastal areas including New England salt marshes and seascapes. He was praised for his ability to capture the changing effects of light, atmosphere and weather.

    In the early 1860s, he was painting still-lifes which would remain a primary interest for the rest of his career. He continued to travel along the eastern United States and in 1863 made his first of three trips to South America. Church had visited the tropics twice and was already celebrated for his vast, large-scale paintings of the dramatic landscapes in South America. Heade instead focused on smaller, more intimate and less dramatic views. He painted flowers and hummingbirds on small, impossibly detailed canvases with the same attention to detail present in his still-life paintings.

    In 1883, Heade moved to St. Augustine, Florida. He was never fully accepted into the New York art establishment. In Florida, he married and found steady patronage from oil and railroad magnate Henry Morrison Flagler. Heade continued to paint orchids and hummingbirds but he turned his attention to the Florida marshes and swamps and painted still-lifes of magnolias and cut flowers.

    When he died in 1904, his work and legacy were largely forgotten. It was not until the 1940s when a renewed interest in American Art brought attention back to his paintings. Now, Heade is included in the canon of Important 19th century American artists and his work is included in numerous prominent public and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art and the Brooklyn Museum.

    Tags: oil painting, listed artist, 19th century, Victorian painting, roses, still-life
  • Condition: in overall excellent condition; unlined canvas; two small dots of restoration apparent under UV in the lower center; minor crazing in the top half

    We are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Shannon’s is merely a subjective qualified opinion. Frames on all paintings are sold "As Is". Frames may need some conservation. 

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