Martin Johnson Heade


Martin Johnson Heade was the consummate painter of the red rose in nineteenth century American art. He painted the subject for nearly forty years and treated it in a variety of settings and surrounded by an array of accouterments. For Heade the red rose was the symbolic flower of love, passion and ardor. Heade remarked: “Every man who possesses a soul has loved once, if not a dozen times, for passion was created with man, and is part of his nature. . . . As soon as the affectionate and sensitive part of my nature leaves me, I shall consider the poetry of my existence gone, and shall look upon life as a utilitarian, bargain and trade affair; for that poetry is the only source of real happiness we have, and I care not whether it is laughed at or acknowledged" (Heade is quoted in: Robert G. McIntyre, "Martin Johnson Heade" [New York, 1948], p. 2).