Those who are not conversant in works of art are often surprised at the high value set by connoisseurs on drawings which appear careless, and in every respect unfinished; but they are truly valuable... they give the idea of a whole.
- Sir Joshua Reynolds
We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.
- Anais Nin


Thursday, July 28, 2011

LeConte Stewart

Posted by Charley Parker at 9:57 am

LeConte Stewart
LeConte Stewart was an American painter active in the 20th Century who spent most of his life portraying the landscape of his native state of Utah.

Stewart studied art at the University of Utah, but also traveled to the East Coast to study with established artists there, notably John Fabian Carlson.

I also see other influences in his work, of the California landscape painters like Hanson Puthuff and other American Impressionists, as well as Edward Hopper and John Sloan. Mostly, however, Stewart’s vision was his own and, a dedicated plein air painter, he spent countless hours painting in the fields, farms, deserts and small towns of his beloved Utah.

In addition to painting in oil, Stewart worked in pastel and watercolor, sketched in pencil and ink and was an accomplished etcher. Stewart joined the faculty of the Art Department of the University of Utah, and served as chair for over 20 years.

Some of his early work documents the trials of the nation and of individuals through the Great Depression, which is the theme of one of two new exhibitions on the painter.

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts and the LDS Church History Museum are presenting joint exhibitions, LeConte Stewart: Depression Era Art at the UMFA and LeConte Stewart: The Soul of Rural Utah at the Church History Museum. The exhibitions are on display until January 15, 2012; together they include over 200 works by the artist.

The UMFA has created an online resource for Stewart. The museum’s own holdings of Stewart’s work are extensive and the online section of their permanent collection is the best resource I’ve found. Note the arrows at bottom to subsequent pages of thumbnails, of which there are several. Most images are zoomable (the zoom controls take some getting used to, the icons don’t produce actions themselves, but change the action of your cursor).

There is a video of LeConte Stewart by Claudia Sisemore that includes a brief introduction to Stewart and his work and features footage of him working on location and audio of him discussing his approach.

5 comments for LeConte Stewart »

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  1. Comment by David Teter
    Thursday, July 28, 2011 @ 11:45 pm

    Nice work, someone new to me.
    Site a bit slow, and I could not see/find the Depression Era Art.
    I like the variety of mediums, including block and linocuts.

  2. Comment by J. T. Glover
    Saturday, July 30, 2011 @ 11:33 am

    I’d never heard of Stewart before, and these are lovely paintings. Echoes of Burchfield, Hopper, Remington, and a smidge of Impressionism. Don’t think I’ve ever commented before, but I regularly follow Lines and Colors via RSS. I’ve never formally studied art history, and I really appreciate encountering artists who are new to me. Sherrie McGraw, Dugin/a, Wr√≥bel: just a few I first heard about here. Thank you!

  3. Comment by Charley Parker
    Saturday, July 30, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

    My pleasure, J.T. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Comment by Dave Parker
    Tuesday, August 2, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

    Thank you for talking about one of my favorite artists. I grew up in Utah, and he and Maynard Dixon, another regional painter, were two cases of first seeing the hills in the art, and then seeing the art in the hills.

  5. Comment by Ken Robins
    Monday, August 13, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

    Mr. Stewart was my father’s uncle. I remember my grandmother talking of him often when I was young. I have seen some of his charcoal etchings when I was younger at my grandparent’s house. My father used to say the etchings reminded him of his surroundings when he was young. Looking of these paintings and drawings puts an image on my father verbal descriptions of the Ogden-Layton-Kaysville area he knew as a boy. Thank you for sharing these.

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