Alfred Léopold Stevens Belgium
5-11-1823 Brussels, BEL – 8-24-1906 Paris, FRABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Alfred Émile Léopold Stevens left middle school to begin study at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, where he knew François Navez, who was its director and an old friend of Stevens's grandfather. In 1843, Stevens went to Paris, he was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts, the most important art school in Paris.
Alfred Léopold Stevens's work was shown publicly for the first time in 1851, when three of his paintings were admitted to the Brussels Salon. He was awarded a third-class medal at the Paris Salon in 1853, and a second-class medal at the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1855. In 1858, Stevens married Marie Blanc, who came from a rich Belgian family and old friends of the Stevens's. Eugène Delacroix was a witness at the ceremony.
During the 1860s, Alfred Léopold Stevens became an immensely successful painter, known for his paintings of elegant modern women. His exhibits at the Salons in Paris and Brussels attracted favorable critical attention and buyers. His friends included Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot, James Abbott McNeill Whistler.
Alfred Léopold Stevens fought for the French during the siege of Paris in the Franco-Prussian War, but returned to Belgium with his wife and family before the Paris Commune. They returned after the war, and Stevens continued to achieve critical acclaim as well as great success with collectors. In 1875, he bought a grand house and garden in Paris on rue des Martyrs, which appeared in his paintings as well as those of other artists, including Édouard Manet's The Croquet Party from 1873. He had to leave the house in 1880, however, to make way for the construction of a new street, which was named after him.
Despite earning a considerable income through the sale of his paintings, Stevens found that a combination of bad investments and excessive spending caused him great financial difficulties during the 1880s. An additional expense came from summers by the sea, which a doctor told Stevens in 1880 were essential for his health. Thus the artist was glad to agree when the Paris dealer Georges Petit offered him 50,000 francs to finance his vacation in exchange for the paintings Alfred Léopold Stevens produced during that time.
Despite these exhibitions, he was not able to sell enough of his work to manage well financially. Having outlived his brothers and most of his friends, he died in Paris in 1906, living alone in modest rooms.
Art Movement: Realism Art
Influences: Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Gerard ter Borch, Gabriel Metsu
Influenced: William Merritt Chase, Berthe Art, Charles Bell Birch, Marie Collart-Henrotin, Louise De Hem, Georgette Meunier, Lilla Cabot Perry, Fernand Toussaint