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    Curated: Singing Beach Manchester, Massachusetts, 1983

    In the Permanent Collection of the de Young Museum, Gallery 26

    The breadth and volume of work produced by Martin Johnson Heade (1819–1904) is perhaps unrivaled by any artist of nineteenth-century America. Although his earliest paintings are primarily portraits, along with a few genre and allegorical works, the versatile and prolific artist shifted his attention later in his career to the subjects for which he is known today—still lifes and landscapes.

    He is often best remembered for his elegant paintings of the New England and mid-Atlantic coast and his exploration of light and atmosphere. Only about thirty seascapes of Heade’s survive, and they are among the most dramatic of American paintings.

    Among the many seascapes he painted in 1863, his most productive year, Singing Beach, Manchester, focuses clearly on a single wave, which breaks up from the calm water. A cool, rosy horizon separates the gray sky from the gray sea at this popular and picturesque seaside resort just north of Boston.

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