Joseph Smith A Study In Charcoal
I, Bill Hahn, an American living there, found President Sevilla to be a remarkable artist. He did two portraits for my family that are amazing. I suggested he do one of the Prophet Joseph and send it to me while I was on visit in the US so I could share his work with others.
Alexander started this portrait two times before, one was burned and the other one was damaged and unable to be saved. They were early works. This one he said, ®Would be much different!® As an Artist, Alexander looked at the RLDS tin-type copy and the new portrait put out by The Church. None of us felt sure of how the Prophet looked in life, as we only had the death mask to go on. We talked to a doctor friend of mine about the time of death and the mask, and the fall out the window. The more Alexander studied, the more inspired he was.
Alex told me he fasted and prayed for days to get it to be what we now feel the Prophet looked like in life. A portrait Emma or President Young would look at and say, ®That is The Prophet Joseph Smith Jun.® One they would look at and tell us the age he must have been when he sat for it. We know he did not sit for this but President Sevilla asked The Lord to guide his hands and let them see the face of The Prophet.
I believe the Lord answered him in the form of this Portrait. I am still amazed and moved when I look at the finished portrait. It is so different than any others I ever looked at.
I also know he protected it's shipment to Utah. It was mailed from the Philippines Postal System to US Postal Service to Utah. The 16 x 20 original was mailed flat, wrapped between 2 sheets 1/4 inch styrofoam. It miraculously arrived to Utah with NO Damage! The US Postal Service and the Philippines postal system could not destroy this blessed work. I hope this helps you understand the importance of this work.
William P. Hahn