Amanda Winstead Fine Art is pleased to offer this sweeping landscape by 19th century Bayou School artist Marshall Joseph Smith, Jr. A student of Richard Clague, Smith embraced the Louisiana landscape tradition, with the focal point of the composition a large imposing moss-laden live oak tree. In the work offered here, a lone figure crosses a footbridge below the oak tree. Over his shoulder, he carries a large sack using a cane to support the weight. The fragility of this lone figure is emphasized by the artist’s minute brushstrokes, characteristic of Smith’s work. The beauty of the scene combined with the hardships of the figure, create a complexity recognizable in Smith’s mature compositions. Paintings by Smith of this large scale are rarely found on the market, and compared to his contemporaries in the Bayou School, his body of work is small in general.
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 painting 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 the abstract and representational simultaneously.
Born in Vevay, Indiana on the Ohio River, Stevens studied at the Cincinnati Academy of Art. He then worked as a designer at the Rookwood Pottery in Cincinnati where his work took him to New York where he remained to study at the Art Students League. He taught in Louisville, Kentucky for almost a decade during which time he exhibited regularly in Cincinnati and Louisville. In 1920, Ellsworth Woodward invited Stevens to teach at Newcomb College in New Orleans, a position he held until 1948. He taught the female students at Newcomb College and would invite them along on his summer teaching positions to various locales, but mainly in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee.
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 included in the collections of 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 others.
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. We look forward to your inquiry.