Greatest American Painters

Thomas Edgar Stephens (1886 – 1966)

Posted by A. S. Amberson on July 21, 2009

Dwight Eisenhower Dwight Eisenhower

Mamie Geneva Doud Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower

 Dwight Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower

George C. MarshallGeorge C. Marshall

Portrait of Bobby JonesPortrait Of Bobby Jones

Abraham Lincoln (Thomas Edgar Stephens)Abraham Lincoln

Douglas MacArthur

Gen. Douglas MacArthur

Frederick Moore Vinson

George M. Humphrey

Judge Charles Davenport Lockwood

Joshua Lionel Cowen

Robert Ten Broeck StevensRobert Ten Broeck Stevens

Winston Churchill (Special thanks to Dilys Finlay Stephens and Stephen Coon)

Winston Churchill (Special thanks to Dilys Finlay Stephens and Stephen Coon)


38 Responses to “Thomas Edgar Stephens (1886 – 1966)”

  1. Steve Coon said

    Another important portrait by TE Stephens was a 1930 work of Abraham Lincoln, the Gettysburg pose. I would submit it or post it if I knew how.

  2. Steve Coon said

    Attached is the portrait of Lincoln by Thomas Edgar Stephens as shown on the webdsite of Smithsonian Inventory of American Painters and Sculptors.

  3. Steve Coon said

    Hi again Suzy,
    I happened upon another Thomas Edgar Stephens painting on EBAY. I am not sure if it is in good enough condition to cut and paste but take a look. It is of Gen. Douglas MacArthur on the cover of Life magazine in 1950.

  4. Dylan Stephens said

    Thank you for including my grandfather Thomas E. Stephens. Some paintings I did not know he painted. It is nice to think he is one of the “Greatest American Painters.”

  5. Steve Coon said

    Another portrait was the Secr of the Treasury under Ike: Fred Vinson

  6. Steve Coon said

    Another version of Gen Douglas MacArthur by T.E. Stephens

    Steve Coon

  7. Jessamyn said

    It is unfortunately not large, but there is a Stephens portrait of Judge Charles Lockwood here:

    Thank you for an interesting site.

  8. Steve Coon said

    The attached site shows another portrait of a business magnate, Joshua Lionel Cowen, founder of Lionel trains, whose portrait was painted by Stephens in 1948 per the article.

  9. Jim said

    Did Thomas Edgar Stephens ever do anything other than portriats? I have a painting of sheep on a hillside that may be his work.

    • Steve Coon said

      To my knowledge TE Stephens was strictly a portrait artist. There might have been another artist of that name having a preference for landscapes.

  10. Dilys Finlay Stephens said

    I would really be interested to know the location of the last life portrait of Winston Churchill as Prime Minister by Thomas Edgar Stephens. To my knowledge it was originally purchased by an American private collector, but I could find no image of it on the Internet. A portrait of such historical interest would surely be documented in records somewhere? He was my grandfather and I only have a print of the portrait in which Stephens’ signature at the bottom is unmistakeable. Can anyone help with information?

    • Steve M Coon said

      Hi Dilys,
      Severak years ago I also inquired about the Churchill painting. You can follow my email string below. I was never able to locate where it currently resided but I did determine where it had been. it is no longer at Walter Reed hospital but was there before the renovation occurred.
      Steve M. Coon

      From: Dennis Medina []
      Sent: Friday, November 20, 2009 11:32 AM
      To: Coon Family
      Subject: Re: Inquiry regarding Ike Eisenhower’s Winston Churchill portrait painted by Thomas Edgar Stephens

      The last I knew of this painting it was hanging at Walter Reed Hospital in the Eisenhower Suite, however, that was some 35 years ago. Dennis Medina, Museum Curator.

      >>> “Coon Family” 11/19/2009 10:16 PM >>>


      I am inquiring about a portrait of Winston Churchill that was painted by Thomas Edgar Stephens upon a recommendation by President Eisenhower.
      Eisenhower and Churchill shared a passion for painting as a hobby and
      Stephens was Eisenhower’s friend and mentor. The Churchill portrait
      was supposedly painted in 1955 or 1956 from life by Stephens after Ike and Winston agreed to the sitting. I am trying to track down this portrait to confirm its existence. I was told that it might be in the Unites States.
      I am seeking any information on it and attach the Presidential Papers letters from Eisenhower to Churchill which discusses the subject of painting near the end of the two enclosed letters.

  11. Hi, I was able to retrieve another bit of information on a Lincoln portrait that had been in display in 1933 in Springfield during the Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago. It was thought that people were taking in both the Lincoln sites on their way to the Exhibition.
    Artists of Abraham Lincoln portraits -Thomas E. Stephens
    Excerpts from newspapers and other sources From the files of the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection ILLINOIS STATE REGISTER
    Work of English Artist !s Publicly Shown for First Time Here

    A life-sized oil portrait of Abraham Lincoln, which critics consider one of the finest representations yet accomplished, has just been placed on exhibition at the Illinois State Historical library. The portrait is the work of Thomas E. Stephens of New York City and will be exhibited here until about September 1st.

    This is the first time it has been shown publicly. The portrait shows Lincoln as he appeared mid-way through his first term in the presidency, the artist having used the famous photograph which Alexander Gardner made in 1863 for his study of the face and head. The figure is seated, with hands resting on the arms of the chair. Serenity and strength are the dominant characteristics of the portrait.

    Mr. Stephens, who supervised the hanging of his portrait here yesterday, commented on the fact that sculptors have created numerous statues of Lincoln which rank as great works of art, but that few painters have succeeded in portraying him adequately. “This is all the more strange,” he said, “when one considers that the sculptor is unable to reproduce the eyes, the most vital feature in any countenance.”

    Thomas E. Stephens is an English portrait painter who came to the United States four years ago and intends to reside permanently in this country. He became interested in painting Lincoln through contact with Lincoln collectors in New York City — notably Frederick H. Meserve, who possesses an outstanding collection of Lincoln photographs which has been of great help to him. “The face of Lincoln,” Mr. Stephens said, “contains all the qualities which portrait painters find most difficult to portray. He is the most difficult subject I have ever attempted, but at the same time the most fascinating.” The artist added that he would welcome any criticisms which the people of Springfield care to make, for they would be valuable in future studies. He is now working on two other Lincoln pictures, and expects to do still others in the future.

    The Lincoln portrait has been hung in the Lincoln room at the historical library among a notable selection of Lincoln pictures, prints and cartoons. Large numbers passing to and from the Century of Progress (1933)are visiting this noteworthy exhibit.

    • Dilys Finlay Stephens said

      Hi Steve. Thank you very much for the information regarding the Churchill Portrait and also the very interesting interview by Stephens regarding the Lincoln portrait. I have a print of the Churchill portrait and can forward a jpeg of this on to you and it would be fantastic to see it alongside the other portraits on this website. It’s such a shame that it seems at present to be ‘lost’ but perhaps some more nuggets of information will surface from this line of inquiry??

  12. Jamie Efaw said

    Does anyone know anything about a Thomas E. Stephens painting of Eisenhower where he is in uniform with his Ike jacket and, has a painting of what looks like Normandy on the wall behind him? Also on the wall is the US Army Europe patch with the awards and ribbons below it. He is standing with his left hand on a chair. I cannot find it on any websites or any information about it.

    • Jamie Efaw said

      I have a photo of this painting. How can I post to the page to get input–or I can email the jpg.

    • Bruce said

      About the Eisenhower painting, I found two references; not much to go on, I’m afraid.

      A caption from one of those pages:


      So, if it’s still in existence, the painting might be hanging in one of the halls of West Point. Or stored in a basement.

      • Jamie Efaw said

        Thanks. The painting exists. I have it. I’m just trying to track down some of the history.

      • Jamie Efaw said

        Actually, I just noticed something slightly different. In the photos in the links above, Ike’s hand in resting on a table. in my painting his hand is resting on a chair. Everything else is the same.

      • Bruce said

        Yes, that is rather odd. The only two explanations that I can think of are: 1) Stephens painted two versions of the same portrait; 2) One is a first draft, so to speak; or 3) What I linked to are magazine reproductions of the painting and perhaps are not photographs but a magazine artist’s own interpretation of the painting.

      • Bruce said

        Three explanations, that is. I think as I type and sometimes the typing is faster than the thinking!

  13. Dilys Finlay Stephens said

    Hi Suzy, I posted you a while back about the Churchill portrait. I would like to post an image of it it online for your website. Please send me a link for me to do this as it is really a magnificent portrait which people should see and the whereabouts of the original still remain a mystery.

  14. Steve Coon said

    Hi Suzay,
    Per above TE Stephens grand daughter, Dilys, has a photo of the last portrait from life painted of Winston Churchill by TE. I also have the file. How can we send it to you via email to be added or how can we embed it in the list of photos?

    Steve Coon

  15. Dilys Finlay Stephens said

    Hi Suzy.
    Still waiting for the link to send the image of the last life portrait of Churchill painted by Stephens. I really feel it should be on this website as it’s incredibly important historically, linking the strong friendship of Eisenhower and Tommy to the introduction of this portrait project. Churchill himself was a painter and had many correspondences with Thomas Edgar Stephens around that time. I also have a photo of T E Stephens and Churchill after the portrait was painted.

    Dilys Finlay Stephens

    • Suzay Lamb said

      I added Winnie’s portrait🙂 Many thanks to you and Steve!

      • Dilys said

        Hi Suzay I saw on the website that the comments are closed and your gallery is too full. You’ve done such a great job! It has allowed me to see my grandfathers portraits in one place. I know this may be impossible now but would you be able to post one more TE Stephens portrait? It is that of his son Peter John Stephens as a young man, an oil sketch, my father. A beautiful painting which needs to be seen also along the well known figures of American society and politics. Please let me know if this is ok?

        Thank you! Dilys Finlay Stephens


    • Suzay Lamb said

      Dilys, I can post your grandfather’s portrait on my new blog (where you can find all the T.E.Stephens paintings posted here):

      • Dilys said

        Thanks Suzay Looking forward to seeing it there. This is going to be very exciting. Look forward to it. Dilys Finlay Stephens


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