"Heade was the first artist of national repute to make his home in Florida. He brought the Hudson River school to the St. Johns River. An avid outdoorsman, he spoke out for preservation of the state's natural resources both in his writings and, most memorably, in his magnificent landscape paintings and portraits of flowers."--Thomas Graham, Flagler College
Roberta Favis tells the story of the last two decades of the life and artistic career of Martin Johnson Heade (1819-1904), when the peripatetic painter settled permanently in St. Augustine, Florida. Providing generous illustrations in both black and white and color, she reassesses his career and importance by focusing on this late period of his work and looking more closely at his local context and the contemporary issues particular to the state that became his home.
The history of Heade's career in Florida is, like many Florida stories, a complicated interplay between the forces of tourism and development and the rich natural beauty of the state. Favis closely examines Heade's relation to the development of tourism in St. Augustine and uses his writings to show his sometimes conflicting attitudes toward development and conservation. He artistically celebrated the beauties of the state being touted as "the new Eden," but he was an active participant in the projects of Henry Flagler to transform St. Augustine into a mecca for northern tourists, while his writings expressed concern that the pristine environment and its inhabitants were already threatened.
In words and in pictures, Heade spoke of the vitality, beauty, and the fragility of Florida. Combining his biography, art, and writing, Favis captures an early chapter in the history of art in Florida and brings to light an early and compelling advocate for the preservation of the state's natural riches.
Roberta Smith Favis is professor of art at Stetson University and the author of numerous exhibit catalogs and articles.
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" A compelling and warm read to be savoured during the grey winter months."
"His writings unveil his conflicting feelings toward expansion and development, while he still was an active participant in Flager's attempts to transform ST. Augustine into a tourist attraction for northern folk."
--Art and Antiques
"Explores the final, flourishing period of this peripatetic painter."
--Antiques and Fine Arts
"Favis is acutely aware of the factors which cause an artist to be shaped and evolve stylistically, and her attention to these myriad dimensions is coupled with a sharp eye toward art criticism and the formal elements of painting."
"A historical and visual feast for the reader."
"Deftly weaves together biographical information with relevant Florida history. Favis is acutely aware of the factors which cause an artist to be shaped and evolve styllistically, and her attention to these myriad dimensions is coupled in her book with a sharp eye toward art criticism and the formal elements of painting. Well researched and thorough, her book impresses by maintaining the humanity and character of Heade while consistently providing background information regarding his career within the unique context of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Florida."
"A historical and visual feast"