Alfred Stevens – The Man Who Painted Women

64 minutes.Alfred Stevens - Jeunes/Young
Version française – English Version – Nederlandse Versie

Alfred Stevens (1823-1906) is an artist who enjoyed international fame. Born in Belgium, he spent his entire career in Paris and made his success in that most French of fields, the extolling of women.

This “Belgian lion” excelled in painting the bourgeoise of the Second Empire. A young, beautiful woman, apparently alone, living in a privileged world, always at the very height of fashion.

Stevens depicts her above all in situations of waiting. Gazing out the window, contemplating a trinket, checking her reflection in the mirror, opening a letter… These intimate, sometimes dramatic moments, which the camera explores with both tenderness and curiosity.

Stevens loved women and was not afraid of female artists such as Sarah Bernhard. Moreover, in Paris, he directed a women’s workshop where he taught his pupils the secrets of oil painting and the infinite shades of colour. He also had considerable influence on the American school, led by William Merritt Chase.

The film is related through some one hundred paintings from the greatest institutions: the Musée d’Orsay, Metropolitan Museum of New York, Clark Art Institute, Van Gogh Museum, as well as the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts of Belgium. The work, life and era of Alfred Stevens are analysed by international specialists: Christiane Lefebvre (biographer, Paris), Griselda Pollock (art historian, University of Leeds), Peter Mitchell (art dealer, London) and many others.

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Directed by Françoise Levie
© – 2009. An Avro Television – Van Gogh Museum – Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts of Belgium coproduction
Distribution: Memento Production.