Martin Johnson

United States • 1819−1904

Martin johnson head (English Martin Johnson Heade, August 11, 1819 - September 4, 1904) - American landscape painter and marine painter, master of botanical still life.

Features of the artist Martin Johnson Head: As a talented universal artist, Head became famous for his original technique that conveys the fleeting, fragile beauty of exotic flowers and birds. Carefully painted pictures of Khed fascinate with their rich textures and extremely detailed details - whether it is a flower petal or a velvet tablecloth on which it lies.

Famous paintings by artist Martin Johnson Head: "Giant Magnolias on Blue Velvet", “Salt Flats Near Newburyport, Massachusetts”, "Passionflower (passionflower) and hummingbirds".

A tireless traveler with an easel: portraits
Martin Johnson Head was born in 1819 in the town of Lamberville (Pennsylvania). His family owned the only store in the whole district, where, according to the customs of that time, there was a post office, and local residents shared the latest news here. Heda's family wrote their last name as Heed, but the artist came up with a personal writing of Heade later. The first teacher of drawing the young man became a primitive painter and Quaker missionaryEdward Hicks (1780 - 1849). Hed's earliest known works are portraits created around the 1840s.

In his youth, Martin Head was a tireless traveler. In 1840, he set out on his first European voyage, which lasted two years. Especially the youth liked Rome, its museums and magnificent architecture. In 1841, the picture of Khed for the first time took part in a public exhibition, which was held at the Academy of Fine Arts of Pennsylvania.

Returning to America, the next six years he spent wandering around the cities of the East Coast, earning a living by drawing portraits. Having collected the required amount, in 1848, Head again went to Europe - and again for two years. At home, he continued his journey, not lingering for a long time in any city, leaving behind St. Louis, Trenton, Providence and New Haven. By that time in his work the landscape came to replace the portrait.

"Hudson School" and luminism: landscapes
In 1859, Head came to New York. He rented a workshop in the famous Tenth Street Studio, this center of the artistic world of New York in the second half of the 19th century. Here he met and became friends withFrederick Edwin Church (1826-1900), a supporter of the Hudson School, as well as with other artists of this trend, very popular in those years in the United States. The paintings of the artists of the Hudson School, created in the spirit of lyrical realism, most often depicted the picturesque landscapes of New England, the states of New York and Pennsylvania, but above all - the Hudson River valley. Head himself also created a number of works that can be attributed to the Hudson School.

Head spent a lot of time researching the effect of light on the environment. Interest in this area, called lumism, was shared by his other contemporaries, including the artists of the Hudson School. John kensett,Fitz hugh lane and Sanford gifford. Numerous atmospheric landscapes that convey the tranquility and splendor of the New England salt marshes brought Martin Head to great fame.

The luxury of the tropics: botanical still lifes
Church's monumental painting"Heart of the Andes" (1859, Metropolitan Museum) inspired Khed for another journey. Only four years in one place - and again on the road: in 1863, the restless Head went to Brazil, to Rio de Janeiro. Here he created a series of illustrations depicting a hummingbirdwhich were supposed to be included in the book "Gems of Brazil"; Unfortunately, the book was never published.

Then there were the countries of Latin America - Nicaragua, Colombia, Panama and Jamaica. On these journeys, Head paid a lot of attention to research on local flora and fauna; he painted both large landscapes and small paintings of orchids and hummingbirds he loved in their natural habitat. These works, along with the image of flower bouquets, brought recognition to the artist at gallery exhibitions in New York and Boston, and sold well.

The end of a long journey and magnolia on velvet
Head settled down and got a family at a very respectable age: when in 1883 he led his altar to the altar, the artist was already 64 years old. From New York, the family moved to St. Augustine on the Florida coast, where Martin Head spent the rest of his life, continuing to exhibit his paintings in Boston and Springfield.
One of the big fans of Head's talent was Henry Morrison Flagler, an oil tycoon and financier. It was he who became one of the pioneers of the tourism business in Florida, connecting the railways along the coast into a common network and building a number of station hotels. In one of them - “Ponce de Leon”, located in St. Augustine, Flagler offered the artist a room for the studio, and Martin Head agreed. In this workshop, he worked for the next twenty years, painting Florida’s tropical flora, orchids and roses.

Along with the early botanical still lifes, the paintings of the mature period are striking in their almost scientific precision, meticulously conveying each line of the depicted plants, each light natural flaw or speck. Most flower still lifes created by Head in St. Augustine depict fruits and flowers.on the background of velvet textures - the artist, no less masterly than flowers, wrote textures, including silk, glass and metal.

The settled life of the eternal traveler Martin Johnson Head led to the fact that he gradually ceased to exhibit, and his work was forgotten. Nevertheless, the works of Martin Head can be found in the collections of many major American museums, including the Metropolitan Museum (New York) and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The largest collection of his works, including paintings, drawings and albums, is stored in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Today, interest in the work of Martin Johnson Head is growing, in the United States are his personal exhibitions. And in 2004, Khed's contribution to art was marked by the United States Postal Service stamp depicting the painting Giant Magnolias on Blue Velvet (1890).

To this day, the paintings of Khed can be accidentally bought at a garage sale or at a local auction. There is a case when for many years in a row the picture of Khed"Magnolias on a gold velvet" covered a hole in the wall in an Indiana apartment. The owner became interested in the value of the picture after he began to play the board game "Masterpiece" dedicated to art. The authenticity of the picture was confirmed, and in 1999 the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston bought it for 1.25 million dollars.

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