"The Birth of Mark Twain"


“The Birth of Mark Twain”

Giclee print
Image size: 8 1/2" x 6 5/8" - Edition: 50 signed and numbered, 15 remarqued artist proofs.


Sam Clemens, who is better known by his pen name Mark Twain, adopted his famous pseudonym while working as a reporter for the "Territorial Enterprise" in Virginia City. However, he had to flee the state after dueling with pistols, which was a crime in Nevada. Years later, he went on a lecture tour and was invited to report on the hanging of a man named John Millian, who had murdered a popular prostitute named Julia Bulette in Virginia City. The town was going through tough times, and Sam was robbed the night before the hanging as he entered the town. Some of his former friends were rumored to be the culprits. Additionally, Sam was being hassled by old cronies who were looking for a handout.


The next day, Sam reported on the hanging, which took place near the local cemetery and submitted his story. As he boarded the next stage out of town, he decided to leave his old identity behind and adopt Mark Twain as his legal name. This marked the death of Sam Clemens and the birth of Mark Twain.


The original painting of the hanging, which was titled "The Hanging of John Millian," was not well-received. I changed the title to "Sam Clemens Funeral." The painting was later sold to the 3M Collection, which was preparing to publish it as a limited edition print. When the collection's representatives asked about the significance of the title, I told them the story of Sam Clemens adopting his pen name. After a brief pause, someone suggested that this marked the birth of Mark Twain, and the title was changed accordingly.