Lot 36
  • 36

Martin Johnson Heade

80,000 - 120,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Martin Johnson Heade
  • Tropical Forest Scene
  • signed MJ Heade (lower left)
  • oil on canvas


Charles E. Heed (the artist's half-brother)
By descent to the present owner

Catalogue Note

Martin Johnson Heade scholar Theodore Stebbins writes of the present work, “Heade made his first trip to the tropics in 1863-64, when he went to Brazil, and he went again in 1866 to Nicaragua, then in 1870 to Columbia and Jamaica. The present work, with its subtle handling of light and atmosphere, was likely painted from nature on one of these trips. Judging from the surface, it may have been painted over another work, suggesting that he was travelling and was short of materials. Considering the size, the careful execution and the signature at lower left, this was certainly a finished work, and it is a rarity in his oeuvre in its subtle depiction of the dense jungle and the humid atmosphere, with the sun just breaking through the clouds at the right. Heade’s depictions of the tropical forest are typically renderings of topography and foliage, rather than light… It is the only work by Heade that I know that might well have served as an aide-memoire or study for the atmospheric skies and jungles in Heade’s later orchid and hummingbird compositions. Its treatment of the dark stormy sky closely resembles the sky in Heade’s Cattlea Orchid and Three Brazilian Hummingbirds, 1871 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)”