IDABEL, Oklahoma, — Harold Stevenson was an American artist, with international acclaim, from Idabel, Oklahoma. Although primarily known for his portraiture, he often captured a slice of rural life. As a child in the 1930s, Stevenson’s next-door neighbor was Helen (nee Arnett) Mann, wife of prominent Paris physician, Lawrence Mann.
Upon her 16th birthday, Stevenson presented her with a small oil on canvas that depicted both, holding hands with Stevenson’s younger brother, Don, in the middle. The trio are walking down their neighborhood street on a winter’s day.
Dian Jordan, Ph.D., a sociologist from the University of Texas Permian Basin, is studying the role of arts in the rural community during the mid-20th century. Her work will culminate with the exhibition “Art in Community: A Harold Stevenson Retrospective.” The event is scheduled to open on March 10, 2020, at the Museum of the Red River in Idabel.
As part of Jordan’s research, she recently visited Mann and her two daughters. They are Carol Mann Lynch of Temple and Barbara Mann Eubank of Dallas, also collectors of Stevenson artworks. Joining them was Stevenson’s niece, Caccie Leonard, of Idabel.
Mann has been a long time patron of Stevenson, and in 1968 hosted the artist in her Paris home. Stevenson was accompanied by his friend, the actor Sal Mineo. Mineo was twice nominated for an Academy Award. During that visit, Mann was joined by friends, including Dr. and Mrs. Donald and Priscilla Lewis and Dr. and Mrs. David and Jo Miesch “proud owner of a Stevenson oil” as reported in The Paris News on Sept. 8, 1968.
“Several of our friends became collectors of Harold Stevenson art during that time. I am certain there are still examples of his work in and around the Paris area,” Mann said. “I do hope you will be able to find these and include them in the exhibition” she concluded.
Stevenson’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., as well as having been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the world including the Louvre in the other Paris — Paris France.
Potential lenders to the exhibit should contact the museum at email@example.com or call 580-286-3616.