William Lester Stevens, N. A.
William Lester Stevens, N. A. was born in Rockport, Massachusetts in 1888, Rockport’s first native son artist. He first studied art under Parker Perkins and by the age of eighteen had his paintings accepted by the National Academy of Design and won a scholarship to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School, training under Edmund Tarbell. After studying in Europe and with Aldro Hibbard and Harry Vincent, he helped establish the Rockport Art Association, acting as a chair member.
Until the 1940’s, Stevens remained in Rockport and the Cape Ann area, painting, teaching and continuously showing paintings. Later, Stevens moved to Cricket Hill in Conway, Massachusetts where he made a studio and continued to paint. He taught classes at both Princeton and Boston University. He won more awards and prizes for his work than any other living American artist in New England. The awards he garnered were impressive, over one hundred national awards and prizes. Among his most outstanding are the 4th William A. Clark Prize from the Corcoran Art Gallery, Washington, DC; the Gedney Bunce Award from the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, Hartford, Connecticut; Second Atman Prize at the National Academy of Design, New York City; First Prize in the Springfield Art League, Best Work of Art in Oil Painting in Rockport Art Association shows; and the William Delano Purchase Prize from the American Watercolor Society. He was a member of the Guild of Boston Artists, New Haven Painting and Clay Club, Springfield Art league, North Shore Arts Association, Philadelphia Watercolor Society, New York Watercolor Club, Boston Society of Watercolor Painters, Washington Watercolor Club, Connecticut Academy of Art, Washington Landscape Club, National Academy of Design, American Watercolor Society, and a charter member of the Rockport Art Association. Stevens was often called, “Dean of New England Landscape Painters”.
He is represented in collections in Great Britain, Switzerland, France, Italy, the Philippine Islands, Alaska, and in public schools, art galleries, museums and private collections. He has been a distinguished member of the National Academy of Design since 1935 and is listed in the Who’s Who in the East, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the Western Hemisphere. His exhibitions have appeared at the Boston Art Club; Washington Art Club; the New Haven Connecticut Library; International Club in Geneva, Switzerland; Venice, Italy; and museums in Charlotte, NC, Asheville, NC, Rockland, ME, Portland, ME, Canton, Ohio, Baltimore, MD, and the Gallery Amherst, Amherst, MA.