Gallery Artists > Kelly H. Stevens Biography :

Kelly H. Stevens (1896 - 1991)  Artworks >>

"Stevens was born in Mexia, Texas. After scarlet fever left him deaf at five, his parents enrolled him in the Texas School for the Deaf, Austin, where he was a student of Nannie Huddle. After graduating about 1914, Stevens enrolled in Gallaudet College, Washington, D.C., studying concurrently at the Corcoran School of Art, where his instructors included Richard Norris Brooke and Edmund Clarence Messer. Gallaudet granted Stevens a bachelor of arts (1920) and later an honorary doctorate of humane letters (1971). In 1920 Stevens began to teach at the New Jersey School for the Deaf, Trenton, and for a time received instruction in life drawing from Henry R. McGinnis at the Trenton School of Industrial Arts. In 1925 Stevens studied at the New York School of Fine and Applied Art in Paris. While in Paris he was a student of Jean Hanau, another deaf painter, and spent the summer of 1926 traveling in Italy and Spain with the Spanish painter, Valentine de Zubiaurre. Stevens returned in 1927 to the New Jersey School for the Deaf where he remained until 1929. He painted in New Mexico and Arizona for a few years, a sojourn that resulted in studies of Indian tribal costumes and dances that are considered some of his best works. In 1933-1934, Stevens studied again in Paris under Louis Francois Biloul and at the Academie Colarossi under Francois-Henri Morisset. Stevens then worked about ten months in Madrid with Zubiaurre, with whom he remained friends until Zubiaurre's death in 1963. After painting in 1939 in Taxco de Alarcon, Mexico where he was a student of the portrait painter Wayman Adams, Stevens began in the same year to teach at the Louisiana School for the Deaf, Baton Rouge. He remained on the faculty until 1949, earning in the interim a master of arts from Louisiana State University (1938). He took as his subjects during this period bayou scenes and Negro life. During 1947-1948, he traveled in South America. In 1948 Stevens purchased a large stone structure in Austin, built in 1857 to house the German Free School of which Carl Wilhelm von Rosenberg once served as trustee and whose family donated the land upon which it stood. After returning to Austin in 1949, Stevens restored the building for his home and studio. He conveyed the property in 1991 to the German-Texas Heritage Society, along with several of his paintings, and gave his collection of works by other artists to the University of Texas at Austin. Stevens died in Austin and was buried in Mexia. "Mr. Stevens paints with vivid coloring and is decidedly of the modern school. his subjects have been inspired by various localities and he has achieved the atmosphere of strong sun light in many a theme. The artist is a master in his sureness of line and his flair for pleasing composition." John L. Thom. Exhibitions: Annual Texas Artists Circuit Exhibition (1929-33, 1952);Southern States Art League Exhibition (1930, 1933); Dallas Museum of Fine Arts (1931 one-man); Annual Exhibition of Texas Artists, Dallas, Woman's Forum (1932; Annual Exhibition of the State Fair of Texas, Dallas (1934,1939); International Exhibition of Deaf Artists, Nicholas Roerich Museum, New York; Texas Centennial Exposition, Dallas (1936); Annual Texas Artists Exhibition, (1936); Annual Texas Artists Exhibition, Fort Worth (1937); Golden Jubilee Exposition, State Fair of Texas, Dallas (1938); Texas Federation of Women's Clubs, Austin (1944); Abilene Woman's Forum; Municipal Building, Mexia; Herzog Galleries, Houston (one-man); State Art Gallery, Shreveport, Louisiana; School of Industrial Arts, Trenton, New jersey (one-man); Galeries des Artistes Francais, Brussels; Salon International des Artistes Silencieux and Galeries Reitlinger, Paris; Circulor de Bella Artes, Madrid." Source

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