"That Reminds Me of a Story"


“That Reminds Me of a Story”

Giclee print
Image size: 6 3/4" x 7 1/4" - Edition: 50 signed and numbered, 15 remarqued artist proofs.

Mark Twain, whose real name was Sam Clemens, began his career as a journalist in Virginia City.  During his time at the "Territorial Enterprise" newspaper, he adopted the pen name "Mark Twain".

In 1981, Hal Holbrook, a well-known actor, performed as Mark Twain at the historic "Piper's Opera House" in Virginia City. Before his performance, I approached Holbrook and asked him if he would pose for a painting as Mark Twain. He kindly agreed and even did a private performance for the photo session after the show.

The painting was finished in 1985, which was also the year that Halley's Comet made its next appearance. Mark Twain was born in 1835, the same year that Halley's Comet appeared. Twain had famously said that he would "go out" with the comet when it returned 75 years later. As it happened, he passed away in 1910, the same year that Halley's Comet returned.

The painting of Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain features a frame that contains one of Norman Rockwell's illustrations from "Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn," two of Twain's most beloved characters. The dates of the comet's arrival and the year I painted it are also reflected in the frame.

Years later, Hal Holbrook returned to Piper's Opera House, and a group of us went to see him and show him the painting. He loved it and was amazed by how much he looked like Mark Twain in the painting. Holbrook even posed for me again for another painting called "Victory Train."