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Showing posts from March, 2015

Belgian Dreamer

Le Bain, 1880c


Born in Belgium on the 11th of May, 1823 Alfred Stevens was a painter of modern women from the mid-1800's. While successful in his own day in terms of sales, nowadays he is largely unknown and somewhat dated, yet his work carries a certain poetic quality at times that is worth investigating. There is a freshness and spontaneity in his brush that is not commonly seen in other artists, particularly in his era. Although he comes from a strong Classical tradition, Stevens makes effective use of fashion and character in his portraiture with a timelessness, an ability to capture a moment in time like a photograph, but not photographic at all.

In Le Bain above, a woman is lost in though while laying fully clothed in a bathtub of water. She casually holds white flowers in her hand while an open book sits on a pillow beside her. Note the texture of the bathtub in its dark, warm hues that Stevens renders here. Despite this unusual theme the young woman appears carefree and r…