American Art Collector
FLEETING MOMENTS COLLECTOR’S FOCUS: LANDSCAPES
Martin Johnson Heade (18191904) began his career as a portrait painter and studied with folk artist Edward Hicks, who was famed for his Peaceable Kingdom paintings. Heade had a studio in New York with members of the Hudson River School and was a close friend of Frederic Edwin Church. Unlike the Hudson River painters who celebrated the grandeur of the landscape, Heade portrayed simple agrarian life. He painted the tidal marshes of the Atlantic shore from Massachusetts to New Jersey for nearly 45 years. The scenes depict the changing weather and light conditions in a luminous manner with workers harvesting hay in their wagons and making haystacks raised above the tide on wood staddles. The hay was used for garden mulch as well as bedding and fodder for farm animals. Heade’s Newburyport Meadows, circa 1876 to 1881, shows the farmers at work and haystacks on their staddles, a passing shower in the distance.
Andrea Johnson lives in the fertile Salinas Valley on the Pacific Coast. With a climate less harsh than that of Heade’s New England; the area is a productive agricultural region.
Johnson paints the birds and flowers of the area in a manner reminiscent of Heade’s late paintings of hummingbirds and orchids. She often ventures out and away from the intricate detail of birds and flowers, however. “It is how the light falls upon the land that can inspire me to paint a particular scene at a particular time,” she says. “These moments are fleeting, and can often find me sprinting with my camera to the hilltops behind my house or driving up and down River Road to