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Fernand Stievenart: a forgotten talent

A student of Gustave Boulanger, Fernand Stievenart (1862-1922) is an emblematic figure of the Wissant school. Until next November 27, the house of the Departmental Port of Etaples, on the Opal Coast, is devoting to him, as well as to his wife Juliette De Reul, an exciting monographic exhibition. On the occasion of the centenary of the artist's death, I wanted to put some of his works into perspective with those of contemporaries much more famous than him, but with whom we will easily see that he is far from unworthy.

Fernand Stievenart. Femme au jardin. Collection Fernand Stievenart
Fernand Stievenart. Femme au jardin. Collection Fernand Stievenart

The works of Fernand Stiévenart and Juliette de Reul remained in the meanders of oblivion until the department of Pas de Calais organized in 2014 the exhibition 'Visages de terre" dedicated to the artists of "l'École de Wissant".

Originally from Douai, Fernand Stiévenart settled in Wissant (Pas-de-Calais) around 1900. He created his studio there and received the bronze medal at the Universal Exhibition of 1900 which welcomed more than 50 million spectators. He obtained a medal at the Salon of French Artists in 1902. He spent the end of his life in Belgium, in Uccle.

Initiated by the couple of artists Adrien Demont and Virginie Demont-Breton, the school of Wissant is an artist's home which gathered on the Côte d'Opale a very active colony of painters and sculptors between 1889 and the beginning of the Second World War.

A gauche, Fernand Stievenart. Femme au jardin. Collection Fernand Stievenart. A droite, Gustave Caillebotte, les Roses. Vers 1886. Collection particulière.

Gustave Caillebotte painted his companion Charlotte Berthier and her little carlin in the garden of his property in Petit-Genevilliers where he settled after the marriage of his brother Martial in 1887. Opposite, the painting by Fernand Stievenart, same care , same pose, with, in Stievenart, a more diffuse approach to the massif from which the young woman picks the flowers. .

A gauche, Berthe Morisot, Eugène Manet à l'île de Wight (détail). Vers 1875. Musée Marmottan-Monet. A droite, Fernand Stievenart. nature morte aux fleurs. Collection Fernand Stievenart.

In 1875, Berthe Morisot painted her husband Eugène Manet in front of a window on the Isle of Wight. Near this window, potted flowers, bold colors, quick touches, mastery of backlighting.

Fernand Stievenart treats the theme by allowing himself a daring contrast between the ocher of the background and the tablecloth and the deep blue of the vase on the right.

A gauche,Pierre Bonnard, Nu au miroir, dit aussi La Toilette, dit aussi Nu devant la glace, A931 (Venise, Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia). A droite, Fernand Stievenart. Nu au miroir. Collection Fernand Stievenart.

In 1893, Pierre Bonnard met Marthe, who called herself Marthe de Meligny. She became his model and then his wife and she was a permanent source of inspiration for him, through the many nude photos and portraits he made of them, throughout his life. On this canvas, Marthe is from behind, in semi-darkness, in front of a mirror. The dominant colors in ocher and deep blue tones give way at Fernand Stievenart to pale green which contrasts with the violent red of the carpet. Same pose, leaning head, same model of the body, same abandonment.

Maison du Port Départemental d'Étaples

Tél: 03 21 21 47 37

In his art history lectures, Fabrice Roy combines the past with the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the French 19th century...


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