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Julius LeBlanc Stewart BiographyUnited States, 1855–1919, active in France
The Baptism, 1892
Julius L. Stewart’s education, career,
and reputation were all formed in Europe.
Son of the wealthy expatriate art collector
William Stewart, this artist had entrée into
the salons of rich Americans living abroad
and their European friends. In this stratum
of social privilege Julius Leblanc Stewart found virtually
all his subjects.
By the end of the decade his career began to decline, and Stewart received little further public or critical attention. Initially, the artist painted single figures but soon became known for elaborate narrative Julius LeBlanc Stewart paintings. The painstaking detail of the figures assembled in The Baptism suggests particularity. The men’s faces are strongly individual, although the women’s are less so. The scene was probably inspired by a specific baptism, but the identity of the family is unknown. The Baptism, with its illusionism, elaborate composition, implied narrative, and slow ceremonial pace, is a tour de force of technical skill and a prime example of late nineteenth-century aesthetics. The richly covered damask walls, the silk, satin, and lace trim of the elaborate attire, and the soft, delicately rendered skin of the women and children are as astonishing as their identity is cryptic.
artist Julius LeBlanc Stewart was a figure and genre painter from
Philadelphia who spent almost his entire
life in Paris. From the 1880s through the
first decade of the 20th century, Julius
Leblanc Stewart ranked
John Singer Sargent "as one of the most
popular expatriate American artists in
Paris" (Falk). Julius Leblanc Stewart painted the life
he thoroughly enjoyed -Parisian high society.
Julius Leblanc Stewart was born in 1855, and his family
settled in Paris when the artist was ten years old. Earliest Julius LeBlanc
Stewart art is dated 1876. His
father, William Stewart, was an outcast art
collector, who specialized in paintings of the
contemporary Spanish-Roman school, including Zamacois, Fortuny and de
artists had a great influence on him. In
the 1880s, Julius Leblanc Stewart studied with Zamacois and de
Madrazo, as well as with Jean Leon Gerome.
His first success was being chosen to exhibit at the Paris Salon in 1883. His reputation was firmly established with, "The Hunt Ball" (1885, Essex Club, Newark) and "The Hunt Supper" (1889, Buffalo Club, New York) was shown at the Paris Exposition.
At the same time that Julius Leblanc Stewart was painting
high society scenes, he painted girl bodys out-of-doors, a subject more
acceptable in France than in America in the 1890s. by 1905, artist Julius
LeBlanc Stewart had a religious crisis and conversion, toning down his subject
matter. At the beginning of World War I, he served in the Red Cross ambulance
corps and suffered a nervous breakdown.
Julius LeBlanc Stewart remained a bachelor, and died in 1919, having returned to the United States.
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