Martin Johnson Heade (American, 1819-1904)
oil on canvas, Framed - h:47.61 w:40.01 d:6.99 cm (h:18 11/16 w:15 3/4 d:2 3/4 inches)
Unframed - h:38.10 w:30.60 cm (h:15 w: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.