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Ted Stevens

Title Ted Stevens
Artist/Maker Dean Larson ( 1957   -   Present )  
Date 2018
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions h. 47 x w. 35.25 in. (h. 119.4 x w. 89.5 cm)
Credit Line U.S. Senate Collection
Accession Number 32.00070.000

  • Object Description
  • Senator Ted Stevens represented the people of Alaska in the U.S. Senate for just over four decades, from 1968 to 2009. Stevens began his career in elective office in 1964, first winning a seat in the Alaska House of Representatives before joining the U.S. Senate four years later. During his long Senate tenure, he served as chairman of five committees, including the Senate Select Committee on Ethics (1983–1985) and the Committees on Rules and Administration (1995); Governmental Affairs (1995–1997); Appropriations (1997–2001 and 2003–2005); and Commerce, Science, and Transportation (2005–2007). Among his legislative achievements, Stevens secured federal funding to expand Alaska's infrastructure and public health systems and to promote the state's economic development, including the 1973 Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act. Senate Republicans elected Stevens assistant Republican leader from 1977 to 1985, and he served as president pro tempore from 2003 to 2007.

    Following his death in 2010, Stevens's widow, Catherine Stevens, selected Alaska artist Dean Larson to create this portrait. Because the Ted Stevens Foundation commissioned the portrait posthumously, Larson used a photograph of Stevens, taken by a former member of the senator's staff, as the principal design source for the painting. The portrait was completed in 2018, and the Foundation donated it to the Senate the next year. Following an unveiling ceremony held on October 23, 2019, the painting was hung in the Senate wing of the Capitol.

    The portrait shows Senator Stevens in three-quarter-length profile, reading documents in front of a brightly illuminated window in his private office in the Capitol. The window frames an impressive view of the National Mall in the background with fair-weather clouds—resembling the shape of Alaska—pictured above the senator's head. On the bookshelf below the window, a box hand-crafted by a Native Tlingit artist props up three books whose spines bear insignias related to Stevens's military service and education. The leftmost book features the China-Burma-India Theater patch, representative of Stevens's service with the 14th Air Force in China from 1943 to 1945. The seal of UCLA, the university he attended on the GI bill after service in World War II, appears on the book in the middle, while the Veritas shield of Harvard University, where Stevens earned his law degree in 1950, is pictured on the book at the right. On the roll-top desk at the far right-hand side of the composition, the senator's favorite fountain pen rests upon gold-embossed Senate correspondence cards, evoking his reputation for writing personal notes. Stevens wears his senator's pin and the silver badge of the Olympic Order, which he received in 1993, on his lapel.

    Artist Dean Larson lives and works in San Francisco but has deep roots in Alaska. The son of an Alaska state representative, Larson was raised in the city of Palmer and came to know Stevens when he interned in the senator's office during the summers of 1980 and 1981. In 1996, the artist completed a commission from his undergraduate alma mater, Willamette University, to paint a portrait of Senator Mark O. Hatfield of Oregon. In 2012, Larson painted Stevens's official portrait for the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau. The artist's work is also represented in various museum and university collections, in public buildings such as the Supreme Court of Texas, and in the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings
  • Signature (Recto, bottom left): Dean M. Larson
  • Senate Exhibitions & Publications
  • U.S. Senate Leadership Portrait Collection (Digital Exhibition)
  • Rights and Reproduction
  • Policies, Permissions, and Copyright
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