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Martin Johnson Heade American  1819 - 1904
Two Owls at Sunset  1859-1860
Oil on Canvas
26 x 36 inches, framed
Category: Paintings - American
Era: 19th Century
Subject: Animal / Wildlife
Style: Luminism
"Two Owls at Sunset," c. 1859-60
Oil on canvas
14.75 x 24.5 inches
26 x 36 inches with frame

Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr.
[Vose Galleries, Boston]
Lisa and Leonard Baskin, 1975
[Kennedy Galleries, New York]
The DuPont Family, Delaware
Private collection, Florida
[Kennedy Galleries, New York]
Private collection

Boston, Massachusetts, Museum of Fine Arts, "Martin Johnson Heade," no. 8, July 9- August 24, 1969.
College Park, Maryland, University of Maryland Art Gallery, "Martin Johnson Heade," September 14-October 23, 1969.
New York, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, "Martin Johnson Heade," November 10-December 21, 1969.
Lincoln, Massachusetts, DeCordova Museum, "Henry David Thoreau as a Source for Artistic Inspiration," no. 42, June 6-September 9, 1984.
Orlando, Florida, Orlando Museum of Art, "Landscapes from the Hudson River School Tradition," December-February, 1994.
New York, New York, Kennedy Galleries, Inc., "American Masters from Copley to Hopper," no. 6, November 13, 1999- January 15, 2000.

Stebbins, Theodore E., Jr., Martin Johnson Heade, (1969, University of Maryland; College Park,) no. 8, illustrated.
Stebbins, Theodore E., Jr., "Introducing Martin Johnson Heade," (Dec. 1969, Art News, vol. 68,) p. 53, illustrated.
Bennett, Ian, A History of American Painting, (1973, Hamlyn, London,) p. 92.
Stebbins, Theodore E., Jr., The Life and Works of Martin Johnson Heade, (1975, Yale
University Press; New Haven and London,) p. 34-35, illustrated, p. 219, no. 38, illustrated.
"Henry David Thoreau as a Source for Artistic Inspiration," (1984, DeCordova Museum; Lincoln,
Mass.,) no. 42, illustrated.
"American Masters from Copley to Hopper," (1999, Kennedy Galleries, New York,) no. 6, illustrated.
Stebbins, Theodore E., Jr., Comey, Quinn, The Life and Work of Martin Johnson Heade: A
Critical Analysis and Catalogue Raisonne
, (2000, Yale University Press; New Haven and
London,) no. 68, illustrated.
Glueck, Grace, "A Rich Mix of Styles and Simulations Under One Roof," (February 25, 2000, New York Times; New York,) p. E39.

For your reference, here are Ted Stebbins' comments about this groundbreaking, Luminist
"'Two Owls at Sunset' is unmistakably Heade. The pair of owls sit just as hummingbirds would; the flat horizon, the brushwork (each stroke like a thick comma,) the view of nature- all would become his trademarks. Heade had gone to the marsh and painted the wilderness for the first time. The foreground is very dark, and the sky goes from the red band of the horizon through yellow, to a dark acid green and blue above. This kind of painting had just become possible in America, for the sharp reds, yellows, and purples which Church taught the others to use had been introduced only in the late fifties."

Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., from the catalogue accompanying the exhibition Martin Johnson Heade (1969; University of Maryland, College Park,) illustrated, no. 8; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; University of Maryland Art Gallery, College Park; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

The painting is in excellent condition. All of Heade's original delicate glazes are intact. The canvas is healthy and remains unlined. There is some natural craquelure that has been succinctly and successfully filled and the tacking edges have been reinforced. The painting has been lightly cleaned, freshly varnished and re-stretched by Heade expert conservator, Jim Wright of Boston. "Two Owls at Sunset" presents magnificently in an 1860 profile frame by Eli Wilner & Co. This rare, unlined, and important canvas by this master of American Luminism should be hung as is.

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