Two letters and one note to Karl Gerhardt and his wife.
Autograph letter initialed ("SLC"), 8 pages, Hartford 14 January 1883, praises Gerhardt's sculpture of Mercury, includes sketches of horse hooves and a rambling discussion of Paul Revere with a quote from the final stanza of Longfellow's "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere," and sends good wishes in anticipation of the birth of the Gerhardts' first child; light browning, rust stain in upper left corners from paper clip. —Typed letter signed in type ("S. L. Clemens"), Hartford, 1 May 1883, with manuscript postscript dated 3 May, anticipates receiving the bronze medallions of himself, his mother-in-law and Charles Dudley Warner that day, postscript characterizes Warner's as beautiful but not a good likeness; light browning, 2-inch tear along fold on second leaf. — Autograph note in pencil initialed ("SLC") on the verso of a Hotel Brunswick business card, New York, [September 1884], requesting from Gerhardt a clay medallion of George Cable and himself based on a photograph by Sarony.
Clemens as art critic and connoisseur. In the first letter he praises Gerhardt's sculpture of Mercury which won an award at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. "I think Karl's Mercury is a beautiful creature. He is thoroughly easy, unconstrained, and shapely, & all his lines are full of grace. He is a noble addition to our houses's decorations." The sculpture is presently owned by the Mark Twain House in Hartford. Clemens and his wife disagree as to whether the sculpture is a copy of an ancient statue or an original composition. Clemens's letter of 1 May anticipates the arrival of bronze medallions of himself, his mother-in-law, and close friend Charles Dudley Warner. Clemens thinks Warner's is beautiful but that the likeness is wanting, as it "has many defects of drawing and proportion." However, Clemens falls short of condemning Gerhardt for these flaws which he attributes to the fact that "the artist needs the living model, not the dead & flat photograph." The medallions must have in the main pleased Clemens, since in September 1884 he asked Gerhardt for a clay medallion of George Washigton Cable and himself.
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