Newburyport Meadows

Artist: Martin Johnson Heade (1819–1904)

Date: ca. 1876–81

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 10 1/2 x 22 in. (26.7 x 55.9 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Mrs. Samuel P. Reed Gift, Morris K. Jesup Fund, Maria DeWitt Jesup Fund, John Osgood and Elizabeth Amis Cameron Blanchard Memorial Fund and Gifts of Robert E. Tod and William Gedney Bunce, by exchange, 1985

Accession Number: 1985.117


Although he kept a studio in the same building on Tenth Street in New York City as several members of the Hudson River School, Heade remained on the fringes of the movement, and that marginal position is reflected in the unusual subjects he preferred: not mountains, forests, and lakes but tidal marshes, from Massachusetts to New Jersey. They became an ideal stage, as here, for the transient weather effects that had originated in his earlier coastal storm paintings. He painted these wetlands for forty-five years, focusing on haystacks, water, and sky, without extraneous details. His minutely scaled renderings of nature’s climatic cycles may be understood as intimations of his own moods.