“One of the most striking differences between a cat & a lie is, that a cat has only nine lives.”
STUNNING LARGE HALF-LENGTH PORTRAIT OF TWAIN, SIGNED AND INSCRIBED BY TWAIN TO HIS CLOSE FRIEND AND PERSONAL PHYSICIAN WITH A WITTY QUOTATION.
Inscribed on the original matte above the image, “To Edward Quintard, greeting & all good wishes.”; and in the matte below the image, “One of the most striking differences between a cat & a lie is, that a cat has only nine lives. –Puddenhead Wilson’s Calendar. Truly yours Mark Twain Jan. 1905.”
The recipient, “Dr. Edward Quintard (1867-1936) was a physician and professor of medicine at the New York Post-Graduate School and Hospital (later part of Columbia University), as well as a published writer of prose and poetry. A close family friend, he treated Clemens and his daughters in New York and at Stormfield, and would be present at Clemens’s deathbed.” (Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 3, p. 614, endnotes).
In addition to the wonderful inscription, the image is particularly beautiful and of the highest quality:
Dressed in a three-piece suit with his thumbs hooked in his vest pockets, Twain, in his late 60s, sits at an angle to the viewer. His gaze, however, is directed at the viewer and he has a wry expression that perfectly complements the wit of the inscription.
As a print, it is a masterpiece of the art of the photogravure: “Simply put, photogravures are photographs etched into copper and printed traditionally with ink. Their rich velvety matte surface, deep shadows, delicate half tones, and luminous highlights make photogravures some of the most beautiful and tactile images ever printed. Their invention, critical to the development of photography itself, was derived from an extraordinary quest during the nineteenth century to harness the power to diffuse thought through the action of light.” (“The Story of Photogravure”, from “Art of the Photogravure” website, used with permission.)
The photograph was taken by Joseph G. Gessford, with his name and date (1904) in the plate at the bottom right of the image. Gessford (1866-1942) was a highly regarded New York photographer who, according to his obituary in the New York Times, “made some of the favorite pictures of Andrew Carnegie, George Westinghouse, Mark Twain and Theodore Roosevelt” (New York Times, April 18, 1942).
New York: 1904. Size: Image alone: 7x9 in; with original matte: 8.5x11 in; handsomely framed to an overall size of 15x18 in. Fine condition.
Price: $18,500 .