Julius Leblanc Stewart American, 1855-1919

Overview

Though born American, Julius Stewart had a life not unlike his famous contemporary John Singer Sargent. Both were born to American families yet were raised and educated in Europe. Stewart’s father, William Stewart, was a well-known art collector who helped to jumpstart the careers of many younger artists like Eduardo Zamacois, a Spanish painter who would later become Julius’ first teacher when the Stewart family relocated from Philadelphia to Paris.

 

It was in Paris that young Julius would grow up surrounded by art, artists and art collectors. Eventually he studied under Raimundo de Madrazo and was later enrolled in the atelier of Jean-Leon Gerôme. Stewart had his first success in the Salon of 1883 with his Five O’Clock Tea, followed by a hugely successful entry in 1889 entitled Hunt Supper.  It was these pictures which most represented his subject matter and style: the fashionable, high society ladies of Paris’ upper class. He became one of the leading portrait painters of the city’s social elite, developing strong techniques in portraiture and figure painting, as well as capturing the exquisite surroundings in which they gathered – in the cafes, gardens, banquet halls and living quarters of the wealthy.

 

Though he lived in France, Stewart remained active in the American art scene with shows and exhibitions, and French critics of the time recognized a style in his work that was European influenced but still uniquely American. Later Stewart would add open-air nudes to his repertoire of subject matter. He remained in Paris until his death in 1919, continuing to exhibit in Europe and America as well as helping to bring more American artists into international exhibitions.

Awards

Order of Leopold of Belgium, 1895

French Legion of Honor, 1895; Officer, 1901

Memberships

Paris Society of American Painters

Société National

Société National des Beaux Arts, 1899

Société Nationalle, Berlin

Exhibitions

National Academy of Design, 1883, 1885, 1904, 1914

Paris Salon, 1885 (prize), 1890 (medal)

Berlin International Art Exhibition, 1891 (gold), 1895 (grand gold medal)

Munich 1897 (gold), 1901 (gold)

Paris Exposition 1900

Philadelphia Club

Paris Club de France

Liège Exhibition, 1905

Museums and Public Collections

Art Institute of Chicago

Buffalo Museum, New York

Detroit Institute of Arts

Drexel University Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Essex Club, Newark, New Jersey

Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collection, New York City, New York

Musée du Chateau de Compiègne

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona

Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut

Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland

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