Blue Spiral 1 represents the estate of Will Henry Stevens on a continual basis and is proud to present this exhibition that visually maps the artist’s exploration of the landscape. In Stevens’ work, the experience of an individual communing with nature becomes a colorful visual dialogue that straddles the worlds of representation and abstraction using the artist’s own poetic nature as a filter. Blue Spiral 1 is the perfect setting in which to experience the work of Will Henry Stevens, one of the South’s most prolific modern masters. Stevens was proficient in a variety of media including pastel, oil, mixed media and watercolor.
Will Henry Stevens (1881-1949) an example of one the most prolific Modernist painters in the American South. During his career, Stevens captured the spirit of the Southern landscape from the highlands of Appalachia to the lowlands and deltas of Louisiana.
His faithful commune with nature began in early boyhood and lasted his entire life, providing the inspiration for thousands of exquisite paintings. Proficient in a variety of media, Stevens' poetic vision is reflected in oil, tempera, watercolor and pastels that he crafted by hand.
His quiet intelligence, keen vision, modernist disposition and technical mastery are seen throughout his body of work. Stevens drew and painted simultaneously in two styles -- one abstract, influenced by Klee and Kandinsky, and the other a lyrical body of work that is more traditional. He was a pioneer of Modernism in the American South, and his representational work and objective abstractions reflect his deep love of nature, particularly the bayou and mountains. He easily translated the geometry he found in nature into non-objective abstractions as well.
Stevens was born in Vevay, Indiana in 1881. As a young painter he studied at the Cincinnati Art Academy and the Art Students League in New York City. While living briefly in New York, he had several one-man shows and was befriended by such artists as Albert Pinkam Ryder, Jonas Lie and Van Dearing Perrine.
In 1921 Stevens moved to New Orleans, where he taught art at Sophie Newcomb College, now part of Tulane University. He traveled to the mountains in the summers, where he painted primarily in East Tennessee and Western North Carolina. Stevens died in 1949 after retiring and moving back to Vevay.
The work of Will Henry Stevens is represented in major museum collections including the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, DC), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), Ogden Museum of Southern Art (New Orleans, LA), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (CA), Louisiana Arts and Science Center (Baton Rouge), Greenville County Museum of Art (SC), Hunter Museum of American Art (Chattanooga,TN) Morris Museum of Art (Augusta, GA) and the Tulane University Collection, New Orleans, LA.
For a good overview and link one may also read the Wikipedia article on Will Henry Stevens