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Martin Johnson Heade


American Luminist Landscape Painter associated with the Hudson River School

Artistically and stylistically influenced by the following painters -  Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, and  Asher B. Durand

Education - studied under Edward Hicks

Cause of Death - natural causes

Mediums - oil on canvas

 Artist Bio

Heade was born on a small farm in the countryside of Pennsylvania. He was lucky enough to take painting lessons from his famous neighbor, Edward Hicks. From an early age the young painter loved exploration and adventure. He journeyed far and wide selling beautifully done copies of famous paintings, botanical illustrations, miniature still lifes, and small portraits.  Heade is best known for his dramatic landscape, seascapes, tranquil salt marshes, still lifes, magnolias flowers, and Brazilian fauna. The mystery and enchantment of the South American environment was a constant source for original expression and inspiration. His paintings convey an immense reverence for nature in all its grandeur. Heade was a true master at capturing the beauty of nature -- from the northeastern coastline to the stirring glory of the Amazon jungle.

Important Artists Associated With The Hudson River School
Albert Bierstadt American 1830-1902
Thomas Cole, American, 1801-1848
Herman Herzog German, 1831-1932
Thomas Hill, English, 1829-1908
Thomas Moran English born American1837-1926
George Inness American, 1825-1894 
Frederic Edwin Church, American, 1826-1900
George Loring Brown, American, 1814-1889
Thomas Chambers, English, 1808-1866
Asher B. Durand, American, 1796-1886

Characteristics Of The Hudson River School


Throughout the history of the United States, the American wilderness has been fundamentally important in creating a national identity.  The Hudson River School was a mid-19th century American art movement founded by Thomas Cole in 1825. Using the river as inspiration, these painters were celebrated for their realistic depictions of the regions stunning and distinctive landscape. Their glowing, dreamy style was influenced by European romanticism. The artists shared common design aesthetics uniting them as a school despite their distinctive styles. The painters focused on the American wilderness, particularly the Hudson River Valley as well as the Catskill Mountains and Adirondack Mountains. The paintings were spectacular and dramatic reflecting the wilderness environment. Thomas Cole, leading painter of the Hudson River School, stated  "Those scenes of solitude from which the hand of nature have never been lifted, affect the mind with a more deep-toned emotion than aught which the hand of man has touched. Amid them the consequent associations are of God the Creator, they are His undefiled works; and the mind is cast into contemplation of eternal things."

The artists moved their studios out of doors and sketched directly from nature focusing on the drama of light and shadow. Many paintings depict a  rugged landscape, dramatic sunrise or ominous storm clouds brewing in the distance. The works were painstakingly detailed and celebrate Gods divine handiwork in nature.

The mid 1850s was a time of unprecedented development for the young nation, and the Hudson River painters depicted the vastness and beautify of a country proud of its natural resources. They  embraced nature and showed a remarkable attention to detail within the natural landscape. This school popularized the idea of  Manifest Destiny and came to symbolize American vitality, independence and nationalism. Today, works by the Hudson River school artists are treasured as the first uniquely American school of art and for their beauty and significance to art, history and culture


At the Mill Falls, c.1862, Hermann Ottomar Herzog

Characteristics, terms, words of the the Hudson River School-  unspoiled nature, atmospheric lighting, primeval landscape, theatrical, Catskill, Berkshire, White Mountains, Walt Whitman, American Transcendentalists, spiritual transformation, dramatic instincts, large scale canvasses, Luminist, Romantic school, wilderness, New York, symbolic language, realism,  Western Expansion and Manifest Destiny.

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