Martin Johnson Heade (American, 1819–1904)
Oil on canvas
28 x 44 in. (71.1 x 111.8 cm)
Gift of Erving Wolf Foundation and Mr. and Mrs. Erving Wolf, 1975 (1975.160)
Heade became a good friend of the acclaimed landscape painter Frederic Church (18261900), but he worked on the periphery of the Hudson River School. He specialized not in dramatic wilderness subjects, as many of the school did, but more prosaic marshlands and coastal settings. Even when he painted storms, as here, he portrayed not the actual tempest, but its tense preamble of blackening sky and eerily illumined terrain. This painting was based on a sketch of an approaching storm that Heade witnessed on Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay about 1858. The image became the basis for a more elaborate and synthetic version of the subject painted in 1868 (Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth, Texas).