W. Lester Stevens (1888-1969)
William Lester Stevens was an American landscape painter and teacher from the Boston school of painting. He was born in Rockport, MA in 1888. He studied with well-known Rockport Artist Parker Perkins (1862-1942). In 1906 the National Academy of Design exhibited a work by Stevens, and three years later he would receive a scholarship to the Boston Museum School where he was the student of Edmund Tarbell (1862-1938), Frank Benson (1862-1951), Philip Leslie Hale (1865-1931) and William Paxton (1869-1941).
In 1917 Stevens joined the Army and was sent to Europe where he would continue to sketch and paint. After returning from Europe, Stevens along with his friend and artist Aldro T. Hibbard (1886-1972) and numerous other artists, founded the Rockport Art Association in 1921. Stevens was also a member of the Springfield, MA Art League; the Guild of Boston Artists; the New Haven Paint and Clay Club, CT; the Gloucester Society of Art; the North Shore Art Association;
the Boston Watercolor Club and the New York Watercolor Club.
Throughout the course of his long career, Stevens taught, first in Rockport, Maine, then at Boston University (1925-1926) and at Princeton University (1927-1929). He later gave lessons and held one-man shows in Charlotte and Asheville, North Carolina, where his work was well-received. Stevens won art awards at the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, DC; the American Watercolor Society; the New Haven Paint and Clay Club; the Springfield Art League; Salons of America; the Washington Watercolor Club; the North Shore Art Association; and the Rockport Art Association.
During the Great Depression, Stevens taught painting at Grand Manan. In addition to teaching during this time he produced numerous covers for “The American Legion Magazine” and painted USPO murals in Dedham and Rockport, Massachussetts, Boston City Hall, the Louisville Kentucky Art Museum and at several schools in Boston.
Stevens lived in Rockport until 1934, moving for a short time to Springfield before settling in Conway, Massachusetts where he remodeled an old farmhouse and constructed a studio which looked north towards Mount Monadnock. Stevens would later organize the Conway Festival of the Hills and the Berkshire Arts Festival. Except for summer trips made in the 1960s to Lubec, Maine, Campobello Island and Grand Manan Island, Stevens lived and painted in Conway for the rest of his life until his death in 1969.
Steven’s works can be found in the collections of: the Asheville Art Museum, the Colby College Museum of Art, the George Walter Vincent Smith Museum, the Hunter Museum of American Art, the Louisiana State University Museum of Art, the Memorial Art Gallery, the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Art at Brigham Young University, the National Museum of American Art-Smithsonian, the Rockport Art Association, the Springville Museum of Art, the Canton Museum of Art, the Hickory Museum of Art, the Johnson Collection, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts and the Wright Museum of Art.
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