(American, 1855 - 1920)

Rio della Maddalena

Oil on canvas, 28 3/4 x 24 1/4 inches
Signed and dated at lower left: “J.L. Stewart/1908”
Exhibited: National Academy of Design, NY, 1914
Illustrated: Ulrich W. Hiesinger, Julius LeBlanc Stewart: American Painter of the Belle Epoque (New York, Vance Jordan Fine Art INC., 1998) pl. 35 color
Reference: Ulrich W. Hiesinger, Julius LeBlanc Stewart: American Painter of the Belle Epoque (New York, Vance Jordan Fine Art INC., 1998) p. 61

Born in Philadelphia, Julius L. Stewart studied with Jean Leon Gerome and Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta in Paris, where he lived for the majority of his career. Although Stewart painted a wide variety of subjects, he was best known for his large depictions of life among the wealthy social elite for which he has been called the “American painter of the Belle Epoch.” Stewart exhibited primarily in Europe, where he won numerous awards. He was decorated with the Order of Leopold of Belgium in 1894 and the Cross of the French Legion of Honor in 1895, of which he became an officer in 1901.

About the Artist

(American, 1855 - 1920)

Julius L. Stewart was born in Philadelphia but received his artistic training in Paris, where he remained for the rest of his life. He studied with Jean Leon Gerome (1824 1904) and Raymundo de Madrazo (1841 1920). Working in a wide variety of genres, including landscapes, cityscapes (particularly Venice), and figural subjects, as well as portraits of society figures and celebrities such as the actress Sarah Bernhardt, he is best known for his large scale genre paintings of fashionable life: shipboard scenes, christenings, balls, and supper parties in which the figures are often portraits of friends or patrons of the artist, who moved freely in international society.

Stewart exhibited primarily in Europe and won numerous awards, including medals at the Paris Salon in 1885 and 1890, a gold medal at the Berlin International Art Exhibition in 1891, and grand prize gold medals in Berlin in 1895 and Munich in 1901. He was decorated with the Order of Leopold of Belgium in 1894 and the Cross of the French Legion of Honor in 1895 (he became an officer in 1901). His American exhibition record includes showings at the Philadelphia Club, The Art Institute of Chicago (1904 and 1914), and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia (intermittently between 1877 and 1913). Stewart served on juries and advisory boards for the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889, the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in Saint Louis in 1904, and the Liege exhibition in 1905. In 1894, he was elected a member of the Society of the Fine Arts in Paris. He was also a member of the Paris Society of American Artists as well as art societies in Berlin and Munich. One of the outstanding expatriate American painters in France, he died in Paris in 1919. His works are in museums and private collections throughout the United States and Europe.