DETAIL : COLOGNE SCHOOL Germany Virgin and Child with Saints [Triptych of the Virgin and Child with Saints (left panel) Virgin and Child with Saints (left panel)]
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Alfred STEVENS | (Moonlit seascape)
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Belgium 1823 – France 1906
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(Moonlit seascape) 1892
oil on panel
support 46.0 (h) x 37.6 (w) cm
signed and dated l.r., oil, "A Stevens 92"
Bequest of Sir Randal Heymanson CBE 1986
NGA 1986.2194
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Alfred Stevens was born in Brussels, Belgium, on 11 May 1823. From 1840 until 1844 he studied drawing under François Joseph Navez, a former pupil of Jacques Louis David. In 1844 he began studying in Paris under Camille Roqueplan, and probably also attended classes given by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Stevens returned to Brussels in 1849, making his debut at the Brussels Salon in 1851. A year later he returned to Paris and, in 1853, exhibited in the Paris Salon where he was awarded a third-class medal. Thereafter he became a regular and highly successful contributor to the Salon exhibitions in Brussels, Paris and Antwerp. By 1857 he had all but abandoned social and historical themes to concentrate on intimate scenes of fashionable women in fashionable interiors, a novel theme at the time. He became a close friend of Eugène Delacroix, Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas. In 1867 he was awarded a first-class medal at the Paris Exposition Universelle and made an Officer of the Legion of Honour. He exhibited fifteen pictures at the Exposition Universelle of 1878, won a first-class medal, and was promoted to Commander of the Legion of Honour. By this time he enjoyed a wide reputation among the wealthy of Belgium, France, and also the United States, where he was patronised by William K. Vanderbilt. Sarah Bernhardt became a pupil in the 1870s, and in the 1880s Stevens opened a teaching studio in Paris. In 1900 he became the first living artist to have a solo retrospective exhibition at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Stevens died in Paris on 24 August 1906.

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