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 Gordon Stevenson  (1892 - 1982)

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Lived/Active: Illinois      Known for: portrait, landscape, genre, etching

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BIOGRAPHY for Gordon Stevenson
1892 (Chicago, Illinois)


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portrait, landscape, genre, etching

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Biography from Palm Collection:
Gordon Stevenson was best known for his society portraits in oil. He was Scotch by direct descent, but American by birth and education. Stevenson traveled through the British Isles and on the Continent, and trained in Spain under the master Joaquin Sorolla, whose influence can be noted in Stevenson's rich use of color, beauty of design, and a quality of romance. As a student of John Singer Sargent, Stevenson also benefited from critiques of Sargent who warned him against some of the common pitfalls in portraiture, especially the tendency of many to make the head too large or the figure too dominant for its surroundings.

Stevenson's portraits, of both men and women, appear cosmopolitan and are noted for their understanding of the individual and race characteristics of his sitters, as well as their pictorial possibilities. Many of them are of young people, and have a definite impression of vivacity. They have been described as faithful pictures of Americans, rather than American pictures.

Some of Stevenson's work has been shown at the W. Scott Thurber Galleries in Chicago, among them one of a Mrs. George Collins, which demonstrates well his use of the moving line. It is a portrait of an aristocratic, well-groomed American young woman that avoids becoming too conventional through Stevenson's skillful use of line by which he draws the eye across the canvas, and the interest he creates in the background tapestry.

Another interesting work by Stevenson, atypical of the rest of his output, which was primarily society portraits in oil, is "Catskill Stream" (circa 1932), shown at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in their exhibition 'Masters of Color and Light'. This exhibit of watercolors was in celebration of the Museum's 175th anniversary, drawing from its own collection and honoring American masters from the late 18th to the mid-20th Century.

A resident of Sullivan County New York, Gordon Stevenson studied at the Art Institute of Chicago as well as in Madrid, Spain with Sorolla.

Memberships included the American Watercolor Society, American Veteran's Society and the Century Association.

Exhibition venues were Olympic Exhibition Berlin, 1936 (medal); Art Institute of Chicago, National Academy of Design, European Traveling Exhibition of American Portraits.

Gordon Stevenson won the John Quincy Adams Traveling Scholarship, 1911-1912.

His paintings are in the collection of the Boston Museum, Rutgers University, Harvard University, College of the City of New York and the Rockefeller Institute.

Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"

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