After his move to Florida in 1884, Martin Johnson Heade turned to painting still lifes of flowers and blossoms of flora native to the Southeastern United States. Whereas his magnificent canvases of magnolia blossoms expressed a sense of opulence, his still lifes of the Cherokee rose reflect a simpler, more chaste sense of natural beauty. Heade developed refined color harmonies for these compositions, using soft shades of white, yellow, green and pink. The overall effect is both quiet and refined.
T.E. Stebbins has written, "Another common Florida flower was the Cherokee rose (Rosa laevigata), which Heade used as the subject of several fine paintings. . . These paintings of Cherokee roses. . . have a lushness and an aggressive confidence that far surpass his accomplishment in landscape during the same years [and] are also more successful than those of northern roses in the same setting." (Martin Johnson Heade, New Haven, Connecticut 1975, p. 170)
This painting will be included in Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr.'s forthcoming supplement to the catalogue raisonné of the artist's work.