Alfred Stevens expo at KMSKB  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

From May 8 until August 8, the KMSKB will host an exhibition of works by Belgian painter Alfred Stevens.

"The exhibition demonstrates a discriminate view of Alfred Stevens’ contribution to the development of European genre painting in the second half of the 19th century. Stevens’ early paintings bear a historical touch, characteristic for Romanticism. Soon, his subjects turn towards Realism and interpret certain social issues of his time. When the painter settles in Paris, he concentrates on the representation of ‘women of the upper class’. He almost exclusively focuses on one subject: Parisian women of the Second Empire and later of the Third Republic. Situated in the melancholic atmosphere of lavish salons and boudoirs, he elucidates rich women’s experience of loneliness and the shallowness and futility of 19th Century bourgeois salons. His keen sense of observation induces art critics to define him as ‘the chronicler of the fashionable world’. His Parisian friends are Eugène Delacroix, Alexandre Dumas Junior, Charles Baudelaire, Gustave Flaubert, and the brothers Edmond and Jules de Goncourt.
Later they were joined by the impressionists Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet and Berthe Morisot. Stevens was fascinated by exoticism and he will integrate elements of Japonism in his oeuvre. Informed by a delicate sense of lighting the scene and restrained sensuality he paints luxurious interiors, decorated with silk fabrics and lacquer. In the 1880s, numerous views of the sea broaden his rather narrow repertoire. As a concluding, yet individual chapter of the exhibition the panorama of the History of the Century will be displayed in a separate room. It is a painted historical account of the century (1789-1889) produced in co-operation with Henri Gervex for the World Fair of Paris in 1889. In this monumental series op paintings, Alfred Stevens demonstrates once again his extraordinary technical skill. --Copyright 2009 KMSKB-MRBAB [1]

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