Alfred Stevens (1823-1906) was a Belgian painter who achieved considerable success both in France and his own country. He was known for his paintings of fashionable life and of elegant women. He earned a good deal of money as an artist but unfortunately he seems to have been even better at spending money than at earning it and suffered from chronic financial problems.
In the 1880s he made an arrangement with an art dealer. He had been instructed by his doctor to take regular seaside holidays. The dealer would pay for these excursions, in exchange for any paintings Stevens executed while on holiday. He developed a great love for the sea which became a subject for many of his later paintings. But he still liked to paint fashionable ladies so he solved the dilemma by painting elegant women on the beach with the sea as background!
His work (like so much European art of that period) showed a definite Japanese influence. His pictures might not be especially deep but they have an easy charm.
Alfred Stevens, La Parisienne japonaise, 1872
Alfred Stevens, Allegory of the Night
Alfred Stevens, Elégants sur les Boulevards c. 1888
Alfred Stevens, Femme Elegante Voyant Filer Un Vapeur, 1884
Alfred Stevens, Le Bain
Alfred Stevens, Jeune femme a l’ombrelle rouge au bord de la mer, 1885
Alfred Stevens, Portrait of a Woman, c.1880