Stephen Seymour Thomas, painter, the son of James Edwards and Mary Landon (Blount) Thomas, was born in San Augustine, Texas, on August 20, 1868. His parents were among the early settlers of San Augustine and built the first two-story house in Texas. He was schooled at the Art Students League in New York, where he studied under William Merritt Chase and James Carroll Beckwith, in Paris under Jules Lefebvre and Benjamin Constant and the École des Beaux Arts. Thomas's detailed scenes are characteristic of late nineteenth-century French academy-trained artists. He painted both genre and landscape subjects and exhibited for twenty consecutive years at the Paris Salon, where he received his first honors in 1891.
Thomas was commissioned to paint a portrait of Sam Houston for the Texas building at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. Following its exhibition at the fair, the huge equestrian portrait was shown in the Paris Salon in 1898, then presented in 1920 by Col. and Mrs. Francis Drake to the city of Houston; it was finally hung in the San Jacinto Museum. Thomas painted portraits of many famous persons, including several of President Woodrow Wilson, one of which hangs in the White House. Thomas balanced his career as a portrait painter with numerous landscape works. A large collection of his paintings was given by the artist's daughter, Mrs. Jean Haskell, to be hung in the S. Seymour Thomas Memorial Room in the Ezekiel W. Cullen Home in San Augustine, Texas. Thomas married Helen M. Haskell in London on October 11, 1892; they had one daughter. He died at his home in La Crescente, California, on February 29, 1956, and was buried in that town.
("Thomas, Stephen Seymour." The Handbook of Texas Online. )
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