Marsh Scene: Two Cattle in a Field

Martin Johnsons Heade (American, 1819 - 1904)

1869. Oil on canvas, 14 3/8 x 30 1/4". 1980.002

A peripatetic painter, Martin Johnson Heade traveled to the tropics and along the East Coast of the United States. The modest reputation he achieved during his lifetime was based in part on his scenes of marshes along the eastern seaboard. These are excellent examples of a poetic kind of American landscape painting that was later called Luminism. This style is characterized by a realistic portrayal of light and atmosphere and by a glowing radiance with no trace of brushwork. Heade’s paintings are his meditation on the mysteries of God and nature—an attempt to understand the natural world by a precise rendering of its aspects. This view most probably depicts the marshes of Hoboken, New Jersey.

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