Senator Ted Stevens Portrait in the Senate Leadership Portrait Collection in the U.S. Capitol
“Today’s portrait unveiling is a special day for all who knew him. It is my great hope that future generations of Alaskans can look upon this portrait and be reminded of a man who gave his all to our state and country.“ Congressman Don Young, October 23, 2019.
On October 23, 2019, the Ted Stevens Foundation joined Senator Ted Stevens’ family, friends, current Members of Congress, and former colleagues and staff in the Old Senate Chamber in the U.S. Capitol for the formal unveiling of the Senator’s portrait. The unveiling was hosted by the U.S. Senate Commission on Art, which formally accepted the portrait as part of its Senate Leadership Portrait Collection.
History of the Senate Leadership Portrait Collection
The Senate Leadership Portrait Collection was established by the U.S. Senate Commission on Art in 1999 as a means to honor past Majority and Minority Leaders and Presidents Pro Tempore. Portraits may be acquired or commissioned, however, no federal funds may be used. https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/art/resources/pdf/Leadership_Portrait_Collection.pdf
Senator Stevens was one of the longest serving Senators, and was elected by his peers as President Pro Tempore in 2003, a position he held until 2007. In 2017, the board of the Ted Stevens Foundation, in keeping with the Foundation’s mission to “recognize and honor the Senator’s career in public service”, approved the commissioning of a portrait of Senator Stevens for inclusion in the Senate Leadership Portrait Collection.
With the generous support of our lead donor on the project, Donald T. “Boysie” Bollinger, the Foundation commissioned Dean Larson to paint the portrait in the fall of 2017.
Alaskan artist Dean Larson grew up in Palmer, Alaska and graduated from Palmer High School. He is the son of Ron (deceased) and Emily Larson of Palmer. He interned for Senator Stevens in Washington, D.C. from 1980-1981. Dean attended the Schuler School of Fine Arts in Baltimore, Maryland, and has been an instructor at the Academy of Art University in the Graduate Fine Arts Department for over 15 years. He has also taught at the Machetanz Art Festival at the Matanuska-Susitna College (UAA) of Alaska for several years. In addition to portraits, Dean paints landscapes and cityscapes in the plein air style, and is known for his use of light in his work. His work is on display at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C.; the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau, Alaska; and in numerous other public and private collections. www.deanmlarson.com
The portrait depicts the Senator in his hideaway office in the U.S. Capitol, where he appears contemplating legislation with the Mall and Washington Monument in the background. Upon completing the portrait, artist Dean Larson commented, “What draws the viewer to the portrait and what inspired and sustained the painting from the beginning to end was the idea of seeing the Senator at work.”
Numerous items from the Senator’s career are pictured, including the Senator’s personal roll top desk; Alaska Native artwork of a Tlingit box and Inuit baleen boat; a personal note to Senator Dan Inouye; lapel pins of the U.S. Senate; and an Olympic Laurel wreath in recognition of Stevens’ sponsorship of the Amateur Sports Act. The Senator’s favorite fountain pen is pictured as well, a reminder of the thousands of handwritten notes he sent to friends and colleagues. One of the books on the sideboard behind the Senator displays the crest of the China-Burma-India Theater noting his service in World War II. Other books display the crests of Harvard and UCLA, his two alma maters. Along the bottom of the portrait is a needlepoint stool crafted by the Senator’s first wife, Ann. Outside the window, the National Mall is seen alongside several Smithsonian buildings, the Washington and Lincoln Monuments, the WWII Memorial, and in the distance the United States Institute of Peace.
In Grateful Appreciation
The Ted Stevens Foundation expresses our sincerest gratitude to those whose efforts were instrumental in in bringing this legacy project to fruition: the Alaska delegation and their staff; the U.S. Senate Commission on Art and the Senate Curator; the artist; the Stevens’ family; and our donors and supporters.
For more information:
- Please see the Alaska Congressional Delegation’s Press Release for more info and for links to a video and photos from the unveiling: https://bit.ly/344lcuh.
- Photos from Senator Lisa Murkowski can be viewed here and Senator Dan Sullivan, here.
- The video of the unveiling can be seen here.
- Photos from the dinner following the Portrait Unveiling can be viewed here.