Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Who Will Paint Florida?

Hazy Morning
20 x 16
Available at M Gallery of Fine Art, Sarasota

As I've been preparing for this show I've been rereading a couple of books I have on Martin Johnson Heade. Heade was one of those very underrated 19th century American artists who had always been loosely associated with the Hudson River School. New scholarship in the last 40 years has rescued him from obscurity, and placed him within the Luminist school. Today his star is rising. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he wasn't particularly famous during his lifetime, so discoveries of Heade's in thrift shops and attics has been a common and profitable occurrence over the last few years.

A number of well known 19th century artists visited and painted Florida -Inness, Homer and Sargent to name a few. But, Heade was the only one who made a permanent home there. He lived in St. Augustine for the last two decades of his life and painted exquisite marsh scenes as well as still lifes of tropical plants and birds, particularly hummingbirds. Its important to remember that when Heade came to Florida in the 1880's it was the last frontier left in the east. The extension of the railroad into Florida facilitated its growth and the presence of patrons interested in collecting landscapes depicting its tropical beauty.

When Heade came to Florida it was not only a tropical frontier but virgin territory artistically as well. There were no artistic traditions or schools upon which to draw. Heade's voluminous output during these two decades was not only unique but the first aesthetic exploration of Florida motifs, from landscape to flora and fauna. Although there are many who paint Florida today, Heade was the first to answer the call.

9 comments:

rahina q.h. said...

extraordinary! has all the elements required for healing to take place:) r.

loriann said...

YOU, Deborah, can paint Florida with the beauty and passion it deserves. Thanks you too, for the link to Martin Johnson Heade's work. It's quite impressive to see his body of work.

billspaintingmn said...

From a Minnesota perspective, I have to say what a treat!
I've been "tring" to paint snow, as I have a lot of it.
I wake up with it everyday.
So to see this scene, well, it's
a nice diversion, or break from all
this cold.
It's promise! I could view this all day long.
Dedorah, thank you, It's yummy
dessert, with nutrition.

Deborah Paris said...

Thanks Rahina!

What a nice thing to say, Loriann-thank you! I am glad you are enjoying the Heade links. He was quite prolific!

Thank you Bill- glad its bringing you a respite from the cold!

Linda Blondheim said...

Deborah,
As you know so well, Florida has some of the very best painters. We may not follow a school or a movement, but our state has fantastic landscape painters. I'm really glad that we are individualistic here with no movement to follow.
Love,
Linda

Maggie Kruger said...

Deborah we are so excited to have this show; the Florida landscape has captivated our patrons...our hearts...

Deborah Paris said...

Hi Linda. Today, I'm not sure that's true, although it certainly was in Heade's day. I do agree that Florida has many wonderful landscape painters working in many styles.

Thanks Maggie- I am looking forward to it. See you soon!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I grew up in Florida (moved away 35 years ago) and THIS is the Florida I remember. What a beautiful painting; I can remember the "smell" of the atmosphere just by looking at your lovely painting. Thanks for sharing.

lunardancer said...

You have a good hand for realistic nature paintings. This one is particular has the nostalgic sepia- like ambiance combined with a lonely and serene atmosphere. thank you for telling us about Heade. The sad thing about some or most great artists is that the only time they get the recognition they deserve is after they have gone.