Otto J. Schneider (1875–1946)
Purchased for the Dannie and Hettie Heineman collection as the gift of the Heineman Foundation, 2010; MA 7632
Schneider has been praised for the "direct and virile characterization" of his portraiture, which revealed "the most characteristic, most essential thing in the personality of his subject." His 1906 half-length portrait of Twain, after a photograph by J. G. Gessford and drawings from life, portrays the author at the height of his fame. Staring intensely at the viewer, Twain is defiant and skeptical. Twain was quick to adopt new technologies, such as
photography, and became one of the most famous and immediately recognizable individuals of
nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century America, through his use of widely published photographic portraits to cultivate and sustain his public image. He was at the forefront of the modern cult of celebrity, presenting himself as iconoclast and sage.