English artist. Strongly influenced by the French Impressionists, he is known for his landscapes, such as The Beach at Walberswick (1890; Tate Gallery, London). He became a leader (with Walter Sickert) of the English Impressionist movement and a founder-member of the New English Art Club.
The son of Philip Steer, a portrait painter, he studied art in Paris under Adolphe Bouguereau and Alexandre Cabanel, but was more influenced by the French Impressionists and Neo-Impressionism of the 1880s. In beauty of colour and effective simplicity of design his paintings of Walberswick, Suffolk, and Cowes, Isle of Wight, executed between 1886 and 1892, were a major contribution to the early exhibitions of the New English Art Club.
Later he returned to English tradition, leaning towards Constable and Turner, as in his Chepstow Castle (Tate Gallery, London). He revived the art of direct watercolour painting, and also painted portraits and figure studies in the style of Gainsborough's ‘fancy pictures’, but is mainly of note as an English Impressionist in landscape.