Artist Beulah Stevenson: A Rich Life

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ARTIST BEULAH STEVENSON
A Rich Life (1895-1965)

By Victoria Chick

 

BIG BLEND RADIO INTERVIEW: Victoria Chick discusses the life and art career of Brooklyn artist Beulah Stevenson. Listen to her interview on Spreaker.com, SoundCloud.com, or YouTube.com, or, hear the entire show with other guest segments on BlogTallkRadio.com.

If someone told you a person lived all their life in one place you might assume they were uninteresting themselves or uninterested in what was beyond their domestic sphere.  You would definitely be wrong if you were making these assumptions about Beulah Stevenson, an artist who technically lived her entire life in Brooklyn Heights, New York. If you have never heard of Beulah Stevenson you might assume she was not a very successful artist and you would be wrong again.

Beulah Stevenson spent time traveling to study with well-known artists during the first third of the 20th century. Once established, she taught, exhibited her paintings and lithographs in national exhibitions and museums all over the United States and, internationally, in many countries. She also worked as a curator for the Brooklyn Museum.

Beulah Stevenson was born in 1895 in the neighborhood that was her residence for the rest of her life. It was a culturally rich area in which to study visual art. In the 1920s, she studied at the Pratt Art Institute in Brooklyn and at the Art Students League in Manhattan.

Barn and Silo, Virginia

Barn and Silo, Virginia

Through the Art Students’ League, noted Ash Can School painter, John Sloan formed a mentor relationship with Stevenson, inviting her to accompany him to Santa Fe, New Mexico to spend a summer there with other artists in what was considered by them a somewhat exotic location, with clear light and air, that made color appear more intense.  Stephenson drifted away from Sloan’s Ash Can subject matter and became more attracted to Modernism and so in the 1940s she studied in Provincetown, Massachusetts with Hans Hoffman, a German painter who arrived in the United States to escape Nazi Germany just before WWII. His Abstract Expressionism greatly influenced her and can be seen especially in the paintings done during the several times she returned to Santa Fe  – colorful abstractions with references to familiar places and architecture of the area.

Her Brooklyn studio was the hub of her involvement in numerous art organizations including the New York Society of Woman Artists (president), National Association of Women Artists (board member from 1949), Brooklyn Society of Artists, New York Society of Artists (vice-president), Art Institute of Chicago, International Graphic Society Inc., Philadelphia Print Club, Provincetown Art Association and the Creative Artist’s Association.  She was a member of the American Artist Congress which endorsed government support of art unions and promoted the social-realist style of American scene painting.  But she was always more concerned with art than politics. When the Congress’ affiliation with the Communist Party increased, Stevenson left it to join the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, established to promote avant-garde art.

Up Canyon Road

Up Canyon Road

Her paintings and lithographs have been exhibited in more than 70 museums in the United States as well as museums in Japan, England, France, Argentina, and Mexico. As an illustrator, her art was published and she was included in two international exhibitions, including the World’s Fair in 1940.

 

Beulah Stevenson contributed to the understanding of art through her position as curator at the Brooklyn Museum.

 

Images: These paintings reproduced courtesy of Zaplin Lampert Gallery located on historic Canyon Road in Santa Fe, NM. The gallery is a premier source for the works of the early artists of the Taos Society of Artists and the Santa Fe Art Colony, and for American paintings of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It has also established itself as a primary source for collectors of the celebrated New Mexico printmakers Gustave Baumann and Gene Kloss.

Victoria Chick is the founder of the Cow Trail Art Studio in southwest New Mexico. She received a B.A. in Art from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and awarded an M.F.A. in Painting from Kent State University in Ohio. Visit her website at www.ArtistVictoriaChick.com

Artist Victoria Chick

 

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