Martin Johnson Heade

Ackermans Fine Art

Martin Johnson Heade


A well-distinguished and productive American painter, Martin Johnson Heade is famous for his seascape as well as his shoreline landscape paintings. Martin Heade also had a penchant for illustrating floral portraits, tropical birds and still life.

Martin Heade was born on August 11, 1819 and was raised in a small and quiet town called Lumberville, Pennsylvania. He was the eldest son of Joseph Cowell Heade who was a farm owner. Martin Heade first dabbled in the arts through the famous American folk painter, Edward Hicks. The earliest work of Heade was done on 1839. Although he never had any formal teaching, his painting skills developed remarkably, and by the year 1840, Heade left for Europe.

By 1843, Martin Johnson Heade was back in New York. On the same year, his more renowned works were featured in New Yorks National Academy of Design. During the year 1848, he left for Rome once more and began a pattern of constantly travelling to different cities and different countries in Europe. Heade was always known to be a wandering artist and was never settled in one place for long, even after he came home to the United States.

A critical moment came for Martin Johnson Heade on the year 1859, not long after he went back to New York. He had rented an apartment in the Tenth Street Studio Building, which was near other apartment buildings that housed prominent landscape painters such as Frederic Church. It is said that it was Frederic Church that had inspired Heade to adapt his style. He also had a strong influence towards Heades love for landscape portraits.

Between the years 1861 and 1863, Martin Johnson Heade went to Boston, which is where he based a famous coastal portrait of his. Later that year, he went to Brazil hoping to paint hummingbirds. By 1883, Heade finally settled with his wife in Florida, his work was forgotten by then. It was not until during the 1940s when his work was rediscovered and had gained admiration again.