Alfred Émile Léopold Stevens (1823 – 1906) was a Belgian painter, known for his paintings of elegant modern women.

He studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and in 1843 was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

In the early years, his works reveal the influence of 17th-century Dutch genre painting.

Later he had a success with his scenes of upper-middle class Parisian life.

He tended to use the same models and he introduced subjects from “la vie moderne” presenting especially elegant modern women.

During his carrier received many medals and he was also made a Commander of the Légion d’Honneur and a Grand Officer of the Ordre de Léopold II.

This painting, also known as Confidence, is one of several by Stevens to treat the theme of consolation.

As in his other works from the 1870s, here the anecdotal content of a letter containing distressing news asserts itself in a glimpse of the life of fashionable Parisian women in their elegant interiors.

Stevens’s subject matter and his meticulous attention to contemporary dress and decor elicited analogies to seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish art; in fact, one critic called him the Gerard ter Borch of France.

Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art