"The Birth of Mark Twain"
“The Birth of Mark Twain”
Image size: 8 1/2" x 6 5/8" - Edition: 50 signed and numbered, 15 remarqued artist proofs.
Sam Clemens had adopted his famous pen name, Mark Twain, in Virginia City while working as a reporter for the "Territorial Enterprise".
Years after fleeing the state for dueling with pistols, a crime in Nevada, Sam was on a lecture tour.
Coming to Carson City for a lecture, he was invited to come back to Virginia City and report on the hanging of a low life, John Millian, who had murdered the towns' favorite prostitute, Julia Bulette.
The town had fallen on hard times and Sam was robbed just as he entered the town the night before the hanging. Rumor or fact has it that it was some former friends who figured they needed his money more than he did. Sam also found himself being hassled by old cronies, looking for a handout.
The next day Sam reported the hanging that took place near the local cemetery, turned in his story and took the next stage out of town.
Well, the tale goes that as he boarded the stage he decided to leave Sam Clemens behind and adopted Mark Twain as his legal name. Thus the death of Sam Clemens and "The Birth of Mark Twain".
The painting was originally titled “The Hanging of John Millian”, no one got it. I changed the title to “Sam Clemens Funeral.”
The original painting was sold to the 3M Collection. They were preparing to publish the painting as a Limited Edition print. On a conference call they ask about the significance of the title. I told them the story. After a brief pause someone suggested that this was in some ways the birth of Mark Twain. Thus the title was changed and was much better suited to the painting.