Julius LeBlanc Stewart-6 Julius LeBlanc Stewart-5 Julius LeBlanc Stewart-4 Julius LeBlanc Stewart-3 Julius LeBlanc Stewart-2 Julius LeBlanc Stewart-1 American artist Julius LeBlanc Stewart In the United States he was nicknamed “the Parisian from Philadelphia” (Julius LeBlanc Stewart) because he was shaped by the competitive environment of modern French art in the late nineteenth century and spent his entire career in America among American immigrants. His own style was recognized in Europe and America as wholly original, and he became a true artist of the Paris Belle poque. He was born in Philadelphia in 1855 into a wealthy and respected family. With his family he moved to Paris when he was only ten years old, where they found themselves among a large circle of American emigrants with wide connections throughout the art world. Their father, William Stewart (the father) inherited his fortune from a sugar plantation in Cuba that belonged to his family and was a prominent art collector, an interest in which has only grown in Paris. His collection includes more than 200 paintings by the most famous academic artists, including Jean-Léon Jerome and Sir Laurence Alma Tadema. And many others. He is one of the most important patrons of contemporary art in Paris. For almost 25 years, salons were regularly held in the Stewart house, attended by some of Paris’s most important figures in art and culture. Young Julius was surrounded by art and ideas, and his father encouraged his creativity. Stewart studied with the Spanish artist and family friend Eduardo Zamacois, and at the age of 18 he entered the atelier of Jean-Léon Jerome. His contemporary and compatriot John Singer Sargent achieved success as a portraitist of the wealthy of Paris’s Belle poque society, and received critical acclaim for these portraits at the Paris Salon. He appeared in the exhibition for the first time in 1878 and then participated until 1910. He was successful with large canvases and received many awards for his services to the Salon. Although he was born in America, one critic called him a “true historian” of modern French society, and his first successes at the Salon cemented that reputation. The jurors were appointed arbiters of good taste, and participation in the exhibition was essential to artistic self-promotion. No other exhibition today provides this level of critical acclaim and introduction to new patrons. Even in the late nineteenth century, when modernism began to take over the art world, the Salon remained a vital aspect of an artist’s financial success. A memorable viewing could mean the beginning of a promising career and even elevate an artist to celebrity status. This fact attracted many American artists, including painters. But nevertheless, it was difficult for American artists to get a coveted spot on the exhibition wall. According to experts, American artists did not participate in exhibitions for the first time until 1800, almost a century after the Royal Academy first began holding exhibitions in 1667.Throughout the 19th century, the popularity and scope of the Salon grew, but only 5,000 American works were exhibited during that period, compared to hundreds of thousands of European works. By the late 1880s, Americans were the largest foreign faction in the Parisian art community and accounted for 20-25% of all foreign exhibitors to the Salon of the 1890s. The Salon was highly competitive, and Americans did not often participate in prestigious exhibitions. Stewart defended his community of American artists in France. In his view, he was a core member of the Paris Society of American Painters (PSAP), a collective of college-educated and émigré artists at the École des Beaux-Arts. Most members of the Society performed together and mostly used a conservative style, displaying their skills in the French academic style. Smith was a member of the “Americans in Paris” section of the 1894 Exposition and helped organize the American section at the Antwerp International Exposition in 1894. He also had several awards for merit and achievement in French art. He was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1895 and an officer in 1901.