Martin Johnson Heade, Passion Flowers and Hummingbirds , about 1870–83, oil on canvas, 15 ½ x 21 5/8 in, Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Gift of Maxim Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings.

Nature Illuminated: Landscapes and Still Lifes by Heade and his Contemporaries

February 6 – June 5, 2016

Martin Johnson Heade was one of the most varied and inventive painters of the late nineteenth century and unique in devoting equal time to landscape, marine, and still life subjects. Drawn from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston’s preeminent collection of Heade’s work, this exhibition will present the artist’s great creative range. Heade created evocative marsh scenes and powerful canvases of dramatic thunderstorms at sea that established him as a landscapist. At the same time, he produced scintillating Victorian flower still lifes and exquisite studies of South American hummingbirds, explorations that would culminate in the extraordinary, wholly original combination of the jewel-like birds with lush, tropical orchids.