Martin Johnson Heade was a prominent American painter of the 19th century, best known for his salt marsh landscapes, seascapes, and depictions of tropical birds. One such work is the painting “Blue Morpho Butterfly,” created between 1864-1865. This oil on canvas masterpiece measures 31.1 x 25.4 cms (12 1/4 x 10 ins) and is part of the Manoogian Collection.
The painting features a striking blue butterfly with iridescent wings resting on a leafy branch against a dark background. The use of contrasting colors and subtle shading creates an almost three-dimensional effect, giving the painting depth and texture. The artist’s romantic style can be seen in this piece as he captures the beauty and mystique of nature.
While Heade is best known for his landscapes and bird paintings, “Blue Morpho Butterfly” showcases his skill in still life as well. The delicate attention to detail in capturing the intricate patterns on the wings highlights Heade’s artistic proficiency.
This iconic painting has been reproduced numerous times as custom oil reproductions over time. It continues to captivate art lovers around the world due to its unique subject matter, detailed execution, and rebellious composition style that playfully undermines genre conventions while combining Southern landscape imagery into one sweeping canvas that stands out among classic impressionist works as peerless.