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March 2011

Spartanburg Art Museum in Spartanburg, SC, Features Works by West Fraser and Will Henry Stevens

Spartanburg Art Museum in Spartanburg, SC, will present two new exhibits including West Fraser: A Southern Perspective and Will Henry Stevens (1881-1949), both on view from Mar. 8 through May 7, 2011.

The Spartanburg Art Museum invites you to experience scenes of the Lowcountry through the exceptional artwork of West Fraser, commonly known as “South Carolina’s best known, [and] most widely collected contemporary artist.”

Born in Savannah, GA, in 1955, Fraser gathers inspiration from life to create paintings of marine landscapes and harbor scenes. One of the leading American artists in the representational/plein air tradition, Fraser has built his career on richly painted, atmospheric vistas of cities, coasts, and the landscape throughout the United States and internationally—from the pristine Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia, to the hill towns of Tuscany.

An inveterate traveler, he has painted throughout the Caribbean, Central America, Europe and Scandinavia. Yet his passion always draws him back to the marshes and landscape of the Georgia and South Carolina Coast. This exhibition explores the paintings of his South, from the rolling hills of the North Carolina Mountains to the maritime forests on the southern sea islands.

Following his success as a watercolorist, Fraser shifted to using oil paints as his primary medium. He took his art outside to create art “in the open air,” allowing him to capture and create landscape compositions with an impressionistic rendering of light, color, and atmosphere. In Fraser’s own words, “I capture my experience of just being outdoors, where there is not a sound other than the crackling of the marshes and the wind in the trees. I’m a storyteller of chance, happenstance and time.”

This exhibit is comprised of works from private collections and Helena Fox Fine Art, representative for the West Fraser Studio in Charleston, SC.

The Spartanburg Art Museum will also exhibit the artwork of the late Will Henry Stevens, “one of the south’s most prolific modern masters.” This exhibition, will explore the landscape painter’s evolving style and methods.

Stevens (1881-1949) spent much of his life outdoors, and much of his career painting landscapes and nature, particularly of the Appalachian highlands and the Louisiana delta. His paintings capture a colorful, expressive, and even spiritual essence of the natural world, and demonstrate a relationship with the environment that transcends landscape painting the way we are accustomed to seeing it.

A pioneer of modernism in the American South, his works are reminiscent of Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. His lyrical and poetic visions of the south are soulful enough to inspire even the most ardent of city dwellers to rediscover the expansive beauty of the natural world.
Stevens was born in Vevay, IN, in 1881. As a young painter he studied at the Cincinnati Art Academy and the Art Students’ League in New York City. While living briefly in New York he had several one man shows at the New Gallery. In 1921, Stevens moved to New Orleans to become a professor of art at Sophie Newcombe College, now part of Tulane University. During his summer and winter vacations Stevens would take numerous trips into the landscape. These trips fostered his prolific career. Stevens died in 1949 after retiring and moving back to Vevay.

This exhibition is supported and provided by Blue Spiral 1 in Asheville, NC, the representative for the Will Henry Stevens estate.

For further info check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call 864/582-7616 or visit (


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