20 Elegant Modern Women—the 19th-Century Paintings of Alfred Stevens

Alfred Stevens was one of Belgium’s leading 19th-century artists who specialized in paintings of fashionable young women in elegant interiors.

As a young boy, Alfred Stevens (1823 – 1906) was surrounded by art: his father was an art collector and his grandparents ran a cafe in Brussels that was a meeting place for artists and writers.

At age 14, he studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, and at 20 was admitted to the most prestigious art school in Paris—the École des Beaux-Arts.

By  1851, at the age of 28, three of his paintings were admitted to the Brussels Salon, the most exclusive art exhibition in Belgium. Two years later, he was awarded a medal at the Paris Salon—the most important art event in the world.

It was here, in Paris, that he would find fame and fortune painting elegant modern women.

Here are 20 exquisite paintings from Alfred Steven’s repertoire that show his meticulous attention to contemporary dress and decor.

Departing for the Promenade, by Alfred-Émile-Léopold Stevens, 1859
Departing for the Promenade, by Alfred-Émile-Léopold Stevens, 1859
La Parisienne Japonaise by Alfred Stevens, 1871
La Parisienne Japonaise by Alfred Stevens, 1871
Lady at a Window Feeding Birds by Alfred Stevens, 1859
Lady at a Window Feeding Birds by Alfred Stevens, 1859
Pleasant Letter by Alfred Stevens, 1860
Pleasant Letter by Alfred Stevens, 1860
The Lady in Pink by Alfred Stevens, 1867
The Lady in Pink by Alfred Stevens, 1867
In the Studio by Alfred Stevens, 1888
In the Studio by Alfred Stevens, 1888
The Japanese Mask by Alfred Stevens, 1877
The Japanese Mask by Alfred Stevens, 1877
In the Country by Alfred Stevens, 1823-1906
In the Country by Alfred Stevens, 1823-1906
After the Ball by Alfred Stevens, 1873
After the Ball by Alfred Stevens, 1873
Autumn Flowers by Alfred Stevens, 1866
Autumn Flowers by Alfred Stevens, 1866
News from Afar by Alfred Stevens, 1865
News from Afar by Alfred Stevens, 1865
The Letter by Alfred Stevens, 1823-1906
The Letter by Alfred Stevens, 1823-1906
At Home by Alfred Stevens, 1823-1906
At Home by Alfred Stevens, 1823-1906
The Happy Mother by Alfred Stevens, 1823-1906
The Happy Mother by Alfred Stevens, 1823-1906
Déjà by Alfred Stevens, 1863
Déjà by Alfred Stevens, 1863
Pensive Woman Near a Window by Alfred Stevens, 1823-1906
Pensive Woman Near a Window by Alfred Stevens, 1823-1906
La Parisienne by Alfred Stevens, 1879
La Parisienne, 1879 by Alfred Stevens, 1879
Portrait of Baroness du Mesnil Saint-Front by Alfred Stevens, 1886
Portrait of Baroness du Mesnil Saint-Front by Alfred Stevens, 1886
Mother and Children by Alfred Stevens, 1882
Mother and Children by Alfred Stevens, 1882
The Blue Ribbon by Alfred Stevens, 1823-1906 Credit Giacasso
The Blue Ribbon by Alfred Stevens, 1823-1906 Credit Giacasso

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David James

David James

I'm an Englishman in Boston. History is a joy—it binds us, it connects us, it guides us. I'm interested in making history more accessible and more fun. Join me on this fantastic voyage through time.