Beulah Elsie Stevenson Biography

Beulah Elsie Stevenson




Beulah Elsie Stevenson, painter, printmaker, illustrator, teacher, and curator,  was born in 1890 in Brooklyn Heights, New York. She was a student at the State Normal School in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania and later studied at the Pratt Institute, the Art Students’ League with John Sloan and, in Provincetown, with Hans Hoffman.

Stevenson was a life-long resident of Brooklyn and was a curator at the Brooklyn Museum and taught art at the Brooklyn Girls High School. Her studio was located at 252 Fulton Street in Brooklyn. According to Victoria Chick, John Sloan was a mentor to Stevenson and invited her to spend a summer in New Mexico. She eventually adopted the tenets of modernism after studying with Hans Hoffman.

She was a member of the New York Society of Woman Artists (past president), National Association of Women Artists (board member from 1949), Brooklyn Society of Artists (past vice-president), International Graphic Society Inc., Philadelphia Print Club, Provincetown Art Association, Society of American Graphic Artists, and the Creative Artist's Association. She was briefly a member of the American Artist Congress which endorsed government support of art unions and promoted the social-realist style of American scene painting. When the Congress' affiliation with the Communist Party increased, Stevenson left it to join the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, established to promote avant-garde art.

Solo exhibitions of Stevenson’s work were mounted at the Fifteen Gallery, the Morris Gallery, the Laurel Gallery, New York City; and the Museum of Art in Santa Fe. Her work was included in numerous national and international group exhibitions, as well as in Paris and London. The earliest known exhibition including Beulah Elsie Stevenson’s work was the Art Institute of Chicago’s Original Designs for Decorations and Examples of Art Crafts Having Distinct Artistic Merit (December 16, 1902 – January 11, 1903).

Stevenson apparently fudged on her birth year as it is frequently published as 1895. Her obituary in the New York Times mentions that she died at age 75 on 17 March 1965, therefore establishing the earlier date of 1890.

Beulah Elsie Stevenson’s work is represented in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, New York;  the Indianapolis Museum of Art; the Bates College Museum of Art, Lewiston, Maine; the New York Public Library; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham; and the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.