Will Henry Stevens Opens at the Morris Museum of Art January 24, 2021
AUGUSTA, GA (23 DECEMBER 2020)—Will Henry Stevens opens to the public at the Morris Museum of Art on January 24, 2021. The exhibition, which features more than fifteen works from the Morris Museum’s extensive collection of Stevens’ works, remains on display through July 3, 2021.
An American original, Will Henry Stevens (1881–1949) was a modernist painter and naturalist who was as inspired by the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman as he was by the work of the American painters John Henry Twachtman and James Abbott McNeill Whistler and the Chinese painters of the Song dynasty.
Stevens was a native of Vevay, Indiana, an Ohio River town, where his father, an apothecary, taught him the rudiments of chemistry and the techniques of emulsions, both of which came to play a critical role in his later experiments with different media. While working with his father he also learned to grind and mix his own paints.
After studying for three years at the Cincinnati Art Academy, he took a job as a painter and designer at the Rookwood Pottery, one of the leading American manufacturers of decorative art pottery. In 1906 he made the first of many visits to New York City. There, he studied briefly at the Art Students League with William Merritt Chase, but, unhappy with Chase’s pedagogical style, he left and went out on his own. He was encouraged in his efforts by such eminent artists as Jonas Lie, Van Dearing Perrine, and, especially, Albert Pinkham Ryder. He participated in numbers of group exhibitions, and the New Gallery presented his first solo exhibition in 1907.
Stevens accepted a teaching position in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1912, remaining there until he was recruited to the faculty of H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College for Women in 1921. He remained at Newcomb until his retirement in 1948.
During his annual visits to New York in the late 1920s, he discovered the work of Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee. It was both a revelation to him and a confirmation of his own sense of aesthetic direction. As importantly, that experience led him to experiment in a style that was wholly nonobjective while continuing to produce his more objective landscapes—especially of Western North Carolina, where he spent time each summer.
His work is represented in the collections of more than forty museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; and, of course, the Morris Museum of Art, which owns forty examples—oil paintings, mixed-media works, watercolors, and drawings from all periods and in all styles.
The Morris Museum of Art was founded in 1985 and opened to the public in 1992. It is the oldest museum in the country that is devoted to the art and artists of the American South. The museum’s permanent collection of five thousand works of art, dating from the late-eighteenth century to the present, represents every aspect of the region’s visual culture. The Morris is open to the public from Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., and on Sunday, noon–5:00 p.m. For more information about the Morris Museum of Art, visit www.themorris.org or call 706-724-7501.
HIGH-RES IMAGES >> http://bit.ly/2KnatqI
Will Henry Stevens, Abstraction-Aviary, 1944. Oil on canvas. The Estate of Will Henry Stevens (1881-1949) is represented exclusively by Blue Spiral 1, Asheville, North Carolina. Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia. Gift of the Robert Powell Coggins Art Trust.
Will Henry Stevens, Harleqiunade, circa 1935. Oil on board. The Estate of Will Henry Stevens (1881-1949) is represented exclusively by Blue Spiral 1, Asheville, North Carolina. Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia.
Will Henry Stevens, Two Faces, undated. Mixed media on paper. The Estate of Will Henry Stevens (1881-1949) is represented exclusively by Blue Spiral 1, Asheville, North Carolina. Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia.
Morris Museum of Art
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