I am impressed with your sensitive musicality for color and your ability to handle a multitude of forms and to combine them [in]to an organic whole.
Joseph Albers to Will Henry Stevens, 1944
Will Henry Stevens was one of a handful of artists working outside of New York to explore abstraction and he was a true pioneer of Modernism in the South. Although one can draw parallels between Stevens abstractions of the natural world and those of his American peers ranging from Arthur Dove to Theodoros Stamos (whose work hangs nearby), perhaps the greatest influence on Stevens was Wassily Kandinsky, whose art and theories he encountered at the end of the 1920s.
Stevens taught at Newcomb College in New Orleans from 19211948 but often spent his summers in the North Carolina and Tennessee mountains. As seen in these two pastels, the verdant flora of the Appalachian Mountains was often the starting point for Stevens work, as he drew inspiration from the endless variety of elegant forms and vibrant colors that he found there.
pastel, paper (fiber product)
Measurements: height: 16 inches width: 16 inches frame height: 25.25 inches frame width: 25 inchesGift of Janet Stevens McDowell Trust 2006.12.5
Currently on view at Mint Museum UPTOWN