Martin Johnson Heade: The Enigmatic Self

by Barbara Novak




1. Theodore E. Stebbins,Jr., The Life and Works of Martin Johnson Heade (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1975) p. 22. Stebbins notes the authority of family tradition for the idea that in taking on the name, Heade was seeking to identify himself with Saint Thomas, whose surname was Didymus (The Twin). See also Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition (Springfield, Mass.: 1993) p. 322, where didymos is listed as Greek for twin and p. 1227, where the Greek derived Thomas is related to the Hebrew t'om, twin.

2. Forest and Stream, June 28, 1902.

3. Robert G. Mclntyre, Martin Johnson Heade, (New York: Pantheon Press, 1948) p. 21

4. Though letters from Church to Heade dating from 1866-1900 are preserved at the Archives of American Art, unfortunately only the single letter from Heade to Church of April 27, 1868 is in the Archives Collection. A few other letters from Heade are scantily scattered, mostly in private collections. See Stebbins p. 198.

5. Church to Heade, March 7, 1870. (Heade Papers, Archives of American Art.)

6. See Sarah Cash, Ominous Hush, The Thunderstorm Paintings of Martin Johnson Heade, (Fort Worth: Amon Carter Museurn, 1994) p. 41.

7. See Next to Nature, Barbara Novak and Annette Blaugrund, eds. (New York: National Academy of Design, 1980) p. 13. Heade was nominated in 1868 but failed to win the election to membership.

8. See letter from Church to Heade (Archives of American Art) February 8, 1871, in which Church comments from Hudson: Your letter (Feb 5th) bothers me -- I have just written (not Sent) a letter to Mr. Macdonough requesting him to put your name on the list. But on re-reading your letter I find what is not a little confusing to my country intellect -- You say that Mr. Field was about to put your name on the list but someone suggested that I should nominate you then let Alfred Craven or Hewlett second you let Mr. Field write the letter to the Committee I am ready to propose you or anything -- but I don't understand what I am to do. I thought the person who wrote to the Committee was the person who nominated the candidate -- Please explain yourself -- or the situation -- Probably I am not acquainted with all the machinery necessary to get an artist into the present Century -- It seems clear from Church's remarks that in this instance Heade depended on Church to help him get into the Century Association and Church failed properly to assist him.

9. See Stebbins, op. cit., p. 22.

10. Heade to Church, April 27, 1868 (Archives of American Art). This letter was acquired by the Archives in 1992.

11. Forest and Stream, January 7,1892.

12. See Stebbins, op. cit., p. 148 for Stebbins' suggestion that Heade apparently shared Hawthorn's deep sense of sin as well as his conviction of the reality and permanence of evil.

13. Church to Heade, August 25, 1869 (Archives of American Art).

14. See Stebbins, op. cit., p. 176, who also notes, given the present evidence relating both to Heade's own personality and to the widespread use of flower symbolism in his day, one may assume there was sexual symbolism in Heade's work, though whether the artist was conscious of it or not must remain pure speculation. and (p. 21) One wonders. ..whether, in fact, the paintings reflect his own sexual attitudes.

15. Stebbins, ibid., (p. 21) comments:.. Heade presumably intended to keep himself out of his writing, and perhaps out of his art as well.

16. See The poetry of Flowers and Flowers of Poetry, ed. Francis S. Osgood (New York: ].C. Ricer, 1844) Floral Dictionary p. 262.

17. McIntyre, op. cit. pp. 27-28.

18. Quoted in Stebbins, op. cit., p. 176.

19. See McIntyre, op. cit., p.48. Stebbins (ibid. p. 176) suggests that after his marriage Heade found the magnolia and painted it as a women undressed, seductive yet satisfied.

20. See Stebbins, ibid., p. 118.

21 See Katherine E. Manthome, Tropical Renaissance, North American Artists Exploring Latin America, 1839-1879, (Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Press, 1989) p. 130.

22. McIntyre, op. cit., p. 49.

23. Martin Christadler, Romantic Landscape Painting in America, in American Icons (Santa Monica: The Gerry Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1992) p.111.

24. Ibid.

25. See Barbara Novak, American Painting of the Nineteenth Century, (1969: New York: Harper & Row, Second Edition, 1979) pp. 92-137.

26. See David Miller, Dark Eden, The Swamp in Nineteenth Century American Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989) p. 184 ff.

27. See Cash, op. cit., p. 24. Cash refers here to what the images may have meant when considered against the broader background of the Civil War and Reconstruction years in which they were painted.

28. Ibid., p. 34.

29. Church to Heade, October 9, 1868 (Archives of American Art). See also McIntyre op. cit., p. 5 Martin Johnson Heade, eldest child of Joseph Cowl Heed (b. August 12, 1797, d. February 1,1869).

30. See J. Gray Sweeney A very peculiar Picture: Martin Johnson Heade's Thunderstorm Over Narragansett Bay in Archives of American Art Journal 28, no.4 (1988) pp. 2-14.

31. See Barbara Novak, Nature and Culture, American Landscape and Painting 1825- 75, (New York: Oxford University Press (1980: Revised Edition, 1995) p. 87.

32. Quoted ibid.

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