During World War II, Frederick M. Vinson (1890 - 1953) was Director of the Office of Economic Stabilization, an executive agency charged with fighting inflation. In 1946, President Truman named him Secretary of the Treasury. His mission was to stabilize the American economy during the last months of the war and to adapt the United States financial position to the drastically changed circumstances of the postwar world. Before the war ended, Vinson directed the last of the great War Bond drives.
Sec. Frederick Moore Vinson
Thomas Edgar Stephens
Oil on canvas
56 1/4 x 46 1/2 x 2 1/4"
At the end of the war, Vinson negotiated payment of the British Loan of 1940, the largest loan made by the United States to another country, and the lend-lease settlements of economic and military aid given to the Allies during the war. In order to encourage private investment in postwar America, he promoted a tax cut in the Revenue Act of 1945. He also supervised the inauguration of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Monetary Fund, both created at the Bretton Woods Conference of 1944, acting as the first chairman of their respective boards. In 1946 Vinson resigned from Treasury to be appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by Truman.
About the Artist
Thomas Edgar Stephens (1886 - 1966) was born in England in 1886 and studied art at Cardiff University in Wales, at the Heatherly School in London, and at the Acadamie Julian in Paris. He came to New York in 1929 and became a United States citizen. His distinguished sitters include the Duke of Windsor, General Douglas MacArthur, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He also painted the last life portrait of Sir Winston Churchill. His portrait of Fred M. Vinson was painted from life and presented to the Treasury Department in 1952. Stephens painted another portrait of Vinson, as Chief Justice, which hangs in the trustee's boardroom at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.