Born in 1894 in Michigan, Thompson became a notable painter of aviation subjects. While in high school, he already was an accomplished sign and folk art illustrator, painting images on local barns, including his favorite, an American Eagle in flight.
Thompson went on to study art at Hillsdale College in Michigan from 1913 to 1915, enlisting in the Army as a bugler in 1917, and spending a lot of time in Dayton, Ohio, after his discharge in 1918. He became an art instructor at Southern Michigan in 1922, where he taught until 1936. A life-long fascination with aviation and early aviation pioneers led to his serving as Chief of the Art Department at the Aircraft Laboratories, Wright-Patterson Field, Dayton from 1942 to 1947.
By 1948, he had painted circa 200 portraits, including his aviation series, as well as portraits of nine U.S. Presidents. He also painted landscapes, of which at least one was exhibited at the North Shore Art Association. A large collection of his works is housed at the March Field Air Museum.
Clugston, Steven, Leonardo da Vinci of the Air Force: Lewis Eugene Thompson and American Aviation, March Field Air Museum
additional information courtesy of Jackie Heinl.