Today's Hours
Museum: Closed
Gardens: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Today's Hours
Museum: Closed
Gardens: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Stevens, Alfred
Collection: European Collection
Specialty: Paintings
View Artwork
Though born in Brussels, Belgium in 1823, Alfred Stevens spent most of his
artistic career in France. In 1844, he moved to Paris to study under
several artists, including Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres at the Ecole des
Beaux-Arts. Stevens returned to Brussels long enough to make his artistic
debut at the Brussels Salon in 1851, but returned to Paris the next year
where he remained the rest of his life. In 1853, he was awarded a
third-class medal in the Paris Salon and continued to be a regular
contributor to the Salon for many years, eventually achieving the status
of hors concours, which meant guaranteed acceptance in the Salon's
annual exhibitions.

Stevens concentrated mostly on fashionable women in upscale interiors,
frequently reflecting the contemporary Parisian interest in
japonisme, an interest shared by his good friend Edouard Manet. His
friendship with Manet and the Morisot family led to his frequenting
Impressionist circles. Though Stevens was never considered an
Impressionist himself, many of the artistic elements that characterized
the work of friends like Manet and Degas would show up in the portraits
for which he was best known. In "The Pink Lady", for example, one can see
a hint of their broken brushwork, but more obviously, Stevens uses
Japanese elements typical of the Impressionists, as seen in the lantern
the lady holds and the fan on the console table. In addition, the broad
swaths of dark color forming the background are characteristic of Manet,
and the use of the mirror image is a repetitive theme which the
Impressionists borrowed from Velasquez.

Throughout the last few decades of the nineteenth century, Stevens's
reputation spread across Europe and to the United States where his work
was collected by the wealthy, including the Vanderbilt family. In 1900, he
became the first living artist to be honored with a solo retrospective
exhibition at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

Everl Adair, Director of Research and Rare Collections