Thursday, January 18, 2007

Artist´s Row Resident

Martin Johnson Heade A Magnolia on Red Velvet c. 1885-95Oil on canvas15 x 24 inPrivate collection

Martin Johnson Heade, Orchids and Hummingbird c. 1875-83 Oil on canvas 14 1/8 x 22 1/8 in Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

At the age of 64, Heade settled in St. Augustine, Florida and married Elizabeth Smith. Henry Morrison Flagler, a partner of John D. Rockefeller's in the Standard Oil Company, discovered St. Augustine at about the same time and was determined to make it "the Newport of the South." In 1888 he opened the magnificent Hotel Ponce de Leon, including seven artist studios, which attracted potential buyers for the resident painters. Heade was invited to occupy one of these studios, and was supported and encouraged by Flagler until his death in 1904.
Heade created more than 150 works in between 1883 and his death, focusing on the exuberant landscapes, flowers and fruits of the American South - yet another new subject for the painter. A recent exhibition included five St. Augustine works of Heade's sensuous magnolia blossoms, including Two Magnolias and a Bud on Teal Velvet (1885-95), a work that was recently discovered at an estate sale before being sold for over one million dollars, as well as the magnificent Giant Magnolias on a Blue Velvet Cloth, recently purchased by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Theodore E. Stebbins´book available here

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