Jungle Orchids and Single Hummingbird
Martin Johnson Heade seems to have first become interested in the tropics because of his friend Frederic Church's monumental work, Heart of the Andes. He made his first trip south to Brazil in 1863 where, over the course of a year, he created a series of 40 small Luminist works featuring hummingbirds and orchids. Heade followed up with trips to Nicaragua, Colombia, Panama, and Jamaica, each time adding more lush foliage and tropical birds into his repertoire. His move to St. Augustine, Florida in 1883 cemented his focus on the surrounding tropical marshland and the flora and fauna that filled it. Though not truly famous during his own lifetime and almost forgotten in the early year of the 20th century, Heade was rediscovered after World War II and has come to be considered one of the most important American artists of his generation.