[London. ca. 1863]. Chromolithographed plates, image areas 11 1/2 x 9 3/4 inches. Very minor surface wear, else fine condition. Matted and framed. Item #WRCAM52207
A sensational pair of chromolithographs featuring Brazilian hummingbirds. After his journeys in South America, Martin Johnson Heade planned a chromolithographic work to be entitled GEMS OF BRAZIL, which would translate twenty of his paintings of hummingbirds and orchids into prints. In 1863, he executed the paintings of hummingbirds against a Brazilian background and sent them to London to be chromolithographed. For some unknown reason the project was dropped. Only four of the plates survive in proof form; these are two of them. In THE DEMOCRATIC ART, Peter Marzio states that five colors plus a tint stone were used, with traces of oil paint in the highlights. This firm owned two of the proofs about twenty-five years ago, and these are the only other ones we have seen on the market. Simply stunning works, as rare as they are extraordinarily beautiful. Sixteen of the original Heade paintings came into the private collection of the famed English art historian Kenneth Clark, who later gave them to his son Alan. Alan Clark sold them in the 1970s to help finance his political career and taste for exotic cars; they went into the collection of the American art collector Richard Manoogian. He sold them to the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, where they can be seen today.