flat field with small stand of trees at mid-right edge, cloudy sky moving left to right from light white clouds to darker rain clouds, large haystacks scattered through field with two cows in the center, brown one seated, white one standing and grazing; landscape; outdoor; vegetation
One of the most prolific 19th century American landscapists, Heade traveled widely and sold hundreds of paintings, though he was seldom mentioned in contemporary reviews. While living in New York City, he maintained a friendship with only one other artist, Frederick Edwin Church, whose grand, dramatic landscapes form a sharp contrast to the small, more intimate views favored by Heade.
Heade's images of marshlands such as "New Jersey Meadows" defied conventional theories on the picturesque and the sublime that dominated the art world of his contemporaries. The main feature of this environment, bound by inland hills and the nearby ocean, with canals meandering in the distance, are the haystacks, whose proportions are placed in perspective by the cattle that graze among them. Much of the visual interest of this otherwise placid scene is provided by the sky, which dominates the canvas.