Martin Johnson Heade (American, 1819-1904)
oil on canvas, Framed: 47.61 x 40.01 x 6.99 cm (18 11/16 x 15 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches); Unframed: 38.10 x 30.60 cm (15 x 12 inches). Hinman B. Hurlbut Collection 461.1915
In 1863 Heade took the first of three trips to South America, with an amateur naturalist, the Reverend C. J. Fletcher, to do studies for a projected (though never published) book on hummingbirds. As an outgrowth of that experience, Heade made a large number of paintings of birds and flowers, especially orchids, in a tropical setting. In this way he combined his main interests of still life and landscape--a union of themes he maintained in his work into the 20th century. The paintings are characterized by meticulous and precise rendering of detail and high-keyed luminescent color.