Thomas E. Stephens

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For the American politician, see Thomas E. Stephens (politician).
Thomas E. Stephens taken in 1960

Thomas Edgar Stephens (1885–1966) was a portrait painter and friend of Dwight D. Eisenhower, whom the President addressed as "Dear Tommy".


He was born in Cardiff, Wales in 1886. His father Thomas Stephens was born in Aberthaw, South Wales. He died in 1966 of cancer at Gramercy Park, New York.

He studied at the Art School of Cardiff University, then the Heatherly School in London, and then at the Académie Julian in Paris. One of the first portraits Stephens painted upon his arrival in the United States in 1929 was that of Abraham Lincoln. His portrait of Eisenhower hangs in the Smithsonian Institution's Gallery of Presidents in Washington, D.C. and his portrait of Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower at Gettysburg Battlefield home. His portrait of Eisenhower appeared on the front page of Time on April 4, 1969, the issue that carries Eisenhower's obituary.

Stephens also painted portraits of George C. Marshall and Douglas MacArthur and many more of the Army's foremost generals of World War II on commission from the United States Military Academy. That of MacArthur appeared on a Life magazine cover on August 28, 1950. He also painted many judges such as Fred M. Vinson and Charles Davenport Lockwood. He painted Harry Truman and the entire Eisenhower cabinet such as George M. Humphrey, Secretary of the Treasury. He also painted the Duke of Windsor. Winston Churchill allowed him to paint his portrait at Eisenhower's request.

His works are in the White House, the National Gallery of Art, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Pentagon, Walter Reed Hospital, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U. S. Naval Academy, the Eisenhower Museum in Abilene, Kansas, the Legion of Honor Gallery in Paris; the American Embassy in London, IBM corporate headquarters, Cornell University, Columbia University, Harvard University, the Harry Truman Library and others.

In an ironic twist, there was a Thomas E. Stephens (politician), appointment secretary to Eisenhower and campaign director, thus often confused with Thomas Edgar Stephens. This Thomas Edwin Stephens was responsible for the Paint by number craze at the White House where Cabinet members and even J. Edgar Hoover did paintings by number that were displayed in the West Wing corridor outside the Cabinet Room. They both had house in Greenwich Village and remained in touch because of misdelivered mail.

Stephens was a member of the Salmagundi Club and others.[1]

He was the father of Richard Waring, an actor, and Peter John Stephens, a playwright and author of many teenage historical novels, both now deceased.

Portrait locations[edit]

  • Bobby Jones (golfer) - Bobby Jones Collection, United States Professional Golf Association Museum, Far Hills, N.J.
  • two portraits of Eisenhower's mother - Eisenhower Museum in Abilene, Kansas
  • Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower - Gettysburg War Museum
  •  ? - West Point Museum
  • Dwight Eisenhower, Mamie Eisenhower and Elvira Carlson Doud (Mamie's mother) - Eisenhower National Historic Site, Gettysburg, P.A.
  • Sec. George M. Humphrey - U.S. Treasury
  •  ? Winston Churchill painting was at Walter Reed hospital, now location unknown
  • Portraits of Cora Scovil, a renowned mannequin sculptor and artist, and her husband Louis Johnston now in Excelsior Minnesota within private Berghoff Art Collection


Paint by Number Paint by Number: The How-To Craze that Swept the Nation By William L. Bird


  1. ^ Who's Who in American Art (1952), 586

External links[edit]