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Femme élégante voyant filer un vapeur by Alfred Stevens

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Femme élégante voyant filer un vapeur by Alfred Stevens

- Item No.

A fashionable woman peers across the stormy sea in this work by Alfred Stevens

Key Features

  • A fashionable beauty looks across the sea in this painting by Belgian genre artist Alfred Stevens
  • Stevens is best known for his commanding scenes of beautiful women of society
  • His technique is a unique blend of both Neoclassical and Impressionist styles
  • Signed and dated "Alfred Stevens.84" (lower left); Oil on canvas
  • Canvas: 36 3/4" high x 29 1/8" wide; Frame: 45 1/4" high x 37 7/8" wide

Item Details

  • Width:
    C:29 1/8" F:37 7/8" Inches
  • Height:
    C:36 3/4" F:45 1/4" Inches
  • Period:
    19th Century
  • Origin:
    Other Europe
  • Subject:
    Miscellaneous
  • Artist:
    Stevens, Alfred Emile Leopold
Alfred Émile Léopold Stevens
1823-1906 · Belgian

Femme élégante voyant filer un vapeur

Signed and dated "Alfred Stevens.84" (lower left)
Oil on canvas 

A fashionable young woman looks out across the sea as a storm begins to roll ashore in this brilliant oil painting by Belgian genre artist Alfred Émile Léopold Stevens. The artist is best known for his commanding scenes of beautiful women of society, utilizing elements of both the Neoclassical and Impressionist schools to create elegant, highly-desirable artworks that earned him critical acclaim. 

This beautiful composition, entitled Femme élégante voyant filer un vapeur, is a direct result of his summer vacations in the 1880s to the Normandy and Midi coasts. Sometime in 1880, his physician suggested that summers at the ocean would be beneficial to health. Despite his highly successful career, Stevens was always in financial difficulty, and decided to make a deal with Parisian art dealer Georges Petit to pay for his trip. He received 50,000 francs in exchange for the paintings he composed during his travels. The deal lasted for three years, and from that moment on, the sea became a favored theme in the artist's oeuvre.  

Stevens began his artistic schooling at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, where he was greatly influenced by the romantic and emotive elements of Neoclassicism via his friendship with famed painter François Navez. He studied there for two years before moving to Paris and enrolling in the École des Beaux-Arts, where he perfected a highly naturalistic style inspired by the great 17th-century Dutch Masters. His first public exhibition in 1851 at the Brussels Salon garnered him tremendous attention, which led to multiple, award-winning showings at the Paris and Antwerp Salons and numerous international exhibitions throughout his career. Stevens fought for the French in the Franco-Prussian War, after which he decided to live full-time in Paris. His exposure to the French Impressionists left an indelible mark upon his work, with the current painting being a perfect example. The softened outlines and the attention given to the effect the brewing storm has on natural light are clear hallmarks of the movement. 

This painting is featured in Christiane Lefebvre's biography, entitled Alfred Stevens, 1823-1906, number 185, page 157.

Canvas: 36 3/4" high x 29 1/8" wide
Frame: 45 1/4" high x 37 7/8" wide

Select Exhibitions and Awards:
Brussels Salon, 1851
Paris Salon, Third-class medal, 1853
Exposition Universelle, Paris, Second-class medal, 1855
Antwerp Salon, 1855
Exposition Universelle, Paris, First-class medal, 1867
Paris Salon, First-class medal, 1878
Paris International Exhibition, 1889
École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1900
Belgian Art Retrospective, Brussels, 1905

Associations:
Chevalier, Legion of Honor (Brussels), 1863
Officer, Legion of Honor (Brussels), 1867
Commander, Legion of Honor (Brussels), 1878

Reference:
Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 2006, E. Bénézit
Painting by William Bouguereau

Collecting 19th Century Art

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