Mountain I, 1962

Walter Hollis Stevens

Oil on canvas

44 x 40 in.

Signed and dated lower left


Walter Hollis Stevens

Walter Hollis Stevens


Walter Hollis Stevens, known as Holly to his friends, was a member of the Knoxville Seven, a group of painters who introduced Modern art to east Tennessee in the late 1950s-1960s. Their experimentation with modern art served as a much-needed shot-in-the-arm to the cultural life of the region.

Stevens along with fellow Knoxville Seven artist, Carl Sublett, painted abstraction based on landscape. They traveled throughout the region and were especially drawn to the Smoky Mountains. Later, they spent time painting together in Maine.

Art critic, Matthew Everett of the Knoxville Mercury described Stevens work as, “…the purest adherent of abstraction among the Knoxville Seven, but even he took inspiration from landscapes and architectural design. As his work developed, his interlocking slashes of color and shape became more ethereal and soft, but he maintained a distinctive compositional style.”

Stevens earned his MFA from the University of Illinois in 1955 and began teaching by 1957 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where he remained until his death in 1980.

  • How the “Knoxville Seven” Brought Modern Art to Knoxville—and Help Define Knoxville Museum of Art’s Mission Today, Knoxville Mercury News, Matthew Everett, Feb. 24, 2016
Selected Collections:
  • Knoxville Museum of Art, Tennessee
  • The Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama
Selected Exhibitions:
  • Knoxville Seven, Knoxville Museum of Art, 2016
  • Higher Ground: A Century of the Visual Arts in East Tennessee, Permanent Exhibition, Knoxville Museum of Art, 2008
  • Walter H. Stevens: Watercolors, Knoxville Museum of Art, 1992
  • Seven Knoxville Artists of America, McClung Museum, part of the Dogwood Arts Festival, 1963
  • Contemporary Arts Exhibition shown in the Institute Brazil-Estados Unidos, Rio di Janero, 1960
  • Museu de Arts Moderna, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1960
  • Young Americans, American Federation of Arts, 1957

Additional information


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