Born in Bradford, where he assisted his father in his work as a signwriter and studied initially at Bradford Regional College of Art from 1952 - 1957. His period of study there was particularly fruitful for his artistic development as his talented fellow students and friends included David Hockney, David Oxtoby, Mike Vaughan and John Loker. Upon leaving Bradford Stevens studied at Royal College of Art for a further three years where his teachers included Ceri Richards. Stevens taught painting at Manchester College of Art from 1960-67.
In 1965 Stevens undertook a seven thousand mile Greyhound Bus tour of America, recording his journey in photographs and drawings. The 1970s saw Stevens' international reputation grow, and he was increasingly admired for his superb technical ability as a printmaker. Clapboard houses, Venetian blinds and landscape dappled by light and shadow were typical Stevens subjects.
He was elected a Royal Academican in 1987, the year before he died. The Redfern Gallery held retrospective exhibitions of his work in 1989 and 2003, the latter being devoted to his printmaking.
signed and dated '71
Maltzahn Gallery, London, 1971
Norman Stevens was renowned for his technical ability as a printmaker and painter. His meticulous style is conveyed in Louvered Shutters through the use of perfectly graduating, crisp lines and a sharp, balanced composition. At a glance, the pastel pink and grey construction is reminiscent of Optical art, but closer inspection reveals the piece as depicting a louvered screen; an archetypal subject for Stevens. The interplay between revealing and concealing potential space evokes a sense of intrigue around the work. The Maltzahn Gallery, where this work was shown, was highly influential in promoting the works of artists such as Elizabeth Frink, Richard Hamilton and Stevens’ fellow student David Hockney.