Monday, November 21, 2011

Leconte Stewart-Landscape With Soul

Leconte Stewart was perhaps the best landscape painter nobody has ever heard of. At least outside of his native Utah, that is. Stewart has long been one of my favorites and I was thrilled to have the chance to see his work up close and personal in a pair of joint exhibits here in Salt Lake City.

I featured part one of the Stewart Exhibit  at the Utah Museum of Fine Art previously and I recently got to see the second half of this show titled Leconte Stewart: The Soul Of Rural Utah at the Church History Museum. If the first half of the show was impressive, I dare say the show at the Church Museum is even better.

The focus is on Stewart's landscapes exclusively and the selection shows his the range and the breadth of his artistic exploration.  You see a progression of stroke technique as the paint becomes thicker for certain periods and ranges from pointillistic at times to very bold and expressive. The rural Utah land he depicts takes on a character and personality of its own during different times of year. One section of the exhibit documents how Stewart painted the same country farm over and over in different seasons.

It was fascinating to see his approach to the same subject at various times of year and under a range of weather conditions. Given the results, it is easy to see why he was so attracted to the place. As I mentioned in the previous post, Leconte Stewart was extremely prolific, painting on location nearly every day into his nineties. As a result, there are thousands of Stewart works in existence.

With so much time under the brush, Stewart became a master of nuance. His color and temperature shifts across the surface of any give work are stunning to behold. I left in awe and respect for his vision and craft.

On a side note, I was also pleased to learn that we will finally be graced with a coffee table sized volume of Stewart's work. It will be forthcoming next year from Gibbs Smith. You can see a preview of the book here. Hopefully this book will go a long way towards placing Leconte Stewart among the greats of American landscape painting where I believe he belongs. In the meantime, Be sure to check out both of the Leconte Stewart shows:

Leconte Stewart: The Soul of Rural Utah at the Church Museum of Art through January 15th, 2012
The museum is located at 45 North West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150 and admission is free.

Leconte Stewart: Depression Era Art at the Utah Museum of Fine Art also through January 15th, 2012
The museum is located at 410 South Campus Drive on the University of Utah campus, Salt Lake City, UT 84112. Admission info here

Leconte Stewart bio and more work here


Krista said...

Wow, I can see why he is a favorite! We got our copy of Boy's Life today and immediately recognized your work on the cover. Excellent piece!

Unknown said...

Thanks for noticing! I got my copy of Boys' Life yesterday too. It's always fun to see your work in print.

Amy said...

I still need to see the other half of this show, and am looking forward to the book. Nice post!