The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Robert Alan Mowbray Stevenson, 1847-1900

Nationality: Scottish
Date of Birth: 1847.03.28
Place of Birth: Edinburgh
Date of Death: 1900.04.18
Place of Death: Chiswick, London


Robert Alan Mowbray Stevenson was a painter, teacher, author and art critic.


The son of a Scottish engineer, Stevenson studied at Cambridge and later at Edinburgh College of Art where he was determined to become an artist. Although he studied extensively in France and Belgium (École des Beaux-Arts, Antwerp; with Carolus Duran in Paris, and also at Barbizon and Grez), success eluded him. By 1881, encouraged by his friend W. E. Henley, he turned to teaching and writing. In 1889 he was appointed Professor of Fine Arts at University College, Liverpool whilst at the same time writing on music and art for the Saturday Review.

Stevenson was a talented and incisive art critic and a leading figure in the so-called new art criticism in which he championed French painting, notably the Impressionists. During the 1880s, he became a steadfast supporter of JW's work. He was art critic of the Pall Mall Gazette for six years from 1893 and a regular contributor to the Magazine of Art and P. G. Hamerton's Portfolio. Stevenson also published an important study of Velasquez, The Art of Velasquez (1895).


Walkley, Giles, Artists' houses in London 1764-1914, Aldershot, 1994; Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, 2004, online edition (accessed June 2004).