Abstraction Inspired by Nature: The Art of Will Henry Stevens
Will Henry Stevens (1881-1949) was a pioneer of Modernism in the American South who worked simultaneously in both abstract and representational styles. Stevens was incredibly inspired by nature and never stopped working in the outdoors. With diverse influences from Sung Dynasty paintings and Taoist philosophy to the Modern masters Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky, Stevens found an artistic voice truly his own. Inspired by the landscapes of coastal Louisiana and the mountains of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee where he summered, Stevens translated the geometry of nature into abstract compositions, or at times what scholar Jessie Poesch, Ph.D. called “semi-abstracts.” These latter paintings were a result of working in both abstract and representational styles simultaneously.
Abstraction in Autumnal Colors, oil on board, initialed lower left, sight 14 x 18 in., framed.
In 1944, Stevens was given an exhibition at Black Mountain College in North Carolina where the esteemed Josef Albers was teaching at the time. He wrote to Stevens about the show: “I am impressed with your sensitive musicality for color and your ability to handle a multitude of forms and combine them in an organic whole … many artists could learn from you about color and composition.”
Stevens’ work is in the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Smithsonian Institution, the Morris Museum of Art, the Greenville County Museum of Art, The Historic New Orleans Collection, the New Orleans Museum of Art, among other important collections.
Amanda Winstead Fine Art is pleased to present a selection of works by Will Henry Stevens from several private collections. Carefully collected over many decades, the works on offer show Steven’s true genius as a modern artist. Most of the works presented in this exhibition date to the height of Stevens’ career in the 1940s when he had fully realized his abstract style. A total of eight works are currently available. Please visit our website for a complete list of works. We look forward to your inquiry.
Abstract Floral Composition, 1943, pastel on paper, signed and dated “43” lower left, sight 17 ¼ x 15 in., framed.
Delehanty, Randolph, Art in the American South: Works from the Ogden Collection, Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1996.
Gruber, J. Richard, Water, Nature & Spirit: The Art of Will Henry Stevens, Asheville, NC: Blue Spiral 1, 2015.
Pennington, Estill Curtis, Will Henry Stevens 1881-1949; An eye transformed, a hand transforming ..., Augusta, Georgia: Morris Museum of Art, 1993.
Poesch, Jessie, Will Henry Stevens, Greenville, South Carolina: Greenville County Museum of Art, 1987.
Severens, Martha, Greenville County Museum of Art/The Southern Collection, New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1995.