untitled Mississippi river scene
Will Henry Stevens (11/28/1881-08/25/1949) was born in Vevay, Indiana. When he was ten years old he took private art lessons with a local artist. He enrolled in high school in 1896, spending one year at a preparatory school at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. In 1901 he enrolled in the Cincinnati Art Academy. In a 1905 edition of American Art Annual Stevens was listed as an employee of Rookwood Pottery, a painter and an associate of the Society of Western Artists. Stevens moved to New York City in 1906 to study at the Art Students League. His teachers in Cincinnati and in New York included Jonas Lie, Albert Pinkham Ryder, Vincent Nowottny, Frank Duveneck, L. H. Meakin and Van Dearing Perrine. Stevens had his first one-man exhibition at the New Gallery, New York City in 1907. He won the Foulke Prize at the annual art show in Richmond, Indiana, in 1914. By 1916 Stevens and his family began taking vacations in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina; and soon after 1920 he began spending his summers teaching and working in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. In March, 1926, Stevens participated in an exhibition in Dallas, Texas, and the next year taught at the Texas Artists Camp in San Angelo. The following year, he began teaching at Newcomb College in New Orleans. In addition to teaching, Stevens continued to produce work and to exhibit in group and solo shows. In 1939 one of his paintings was featured in the New York World's Fair Exhibition of Contemporary American Art. During the summer of 1943 Stevens taught classes in Lebanon, Virginia. In 1948, after teaching for twenty-seven years at Newcomb College, Stevens retired and moved back to his family home in Vevay, Indiana. He died of cancer in 1949.