Sunset, Tropical Marshes, Florida

, c. 1883–89
Oil on canvas Martin Johnson Heade, American, 1819–1904

Signed, lower right: M_J_H_eade

12 1/2 x 36 1/4 in. (P-054-80) Audio Guide

Unlike other artists who were drawn to Florida’s coast, Martin Johnson Heade was captivated by its murky, wet marshlands. He excelled in capturing atmosphere as seen here in Sunset, Tropical Marshes, Florida. The scene is heavy with humidity as the heat of the day slowly subsides with the setting sun. Tall palms preside over the dense foliage that ultimately gives way to a clearing where cattle have come to graze under the luminous, cooling sky. One can almost hear the sounds of the marsh and its nocturnal inhabitants as night approaches. After settling in St. Augustine in 1883, the Pennsylvania-born Heade quickly became Florida’s leading painter of the period.