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by John White Alexander (1856-1915)
Better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, satirist Samuel Langhorne Clemens spent much of his youth in Hannibal, Missouri, the Mississippi River town that was to inspire such successes as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Born in western Pennsylvania, John White Alexander moved to New York City in 1875 to work as an illustrator for Harper's Weekly. After further artistic training at Munich's Royal Academy, he returned to New York in 1881, where he taught, worked as an illustrator, and made a name for himself as a portraitist. In 1891 he moved his family to Paris, where he may have first met Clemens, for it is known that he undertook a portrait of the writer's daughter in this city sometime between 1898 and 1900.

The precise circumstances of Clemens's sittings are not known, but Alexander did remain in contact with the author after he returned to New York in 1902, for he was invited to the writer's seventieth birthday party in 1905.
Oil on canvas, 1912 or 1913
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery Portrait of a Nation
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