Series 1:Thomas B. Clarke Letters From or About Homer Dodge Martin, 1893-1897
Written entirely from St. Paul where he had moved in 1893, the 22 letters from Martin to Thomas Clarke indicate the painter's homesickness for the New York art scene, his physical suffering and his anguish over his financial situation. In a December 1895 letter to Clarke he writes of the "deadly loneliness I live in" and states that "aside from my anxiety over the commercial side of my affairs I look for letters as an alligator watches for flies." His letters also document his work, tracing from 1894, for example, his progress on one of his most important paintings, Adirondack Scenery, and indicating his increasing reliance on memory, rather than direct observation of nature, for his work.
In an April 1895 letter to Montgomery Schuyler, whom Martin called "Robo" (an old friend with whom he travelled to Lake Ontario in 1874), Martin mentions 2 pictures he intends to ship to Clarke that he hopes will be "more important than anything I have done." Martin's relationship with Clarke is further illuminated by two 1896 letters from Martin's son, Ralph, written on his behalf, in which Ralph states his father's hope that the market for his work "should begin to rise, as some of the newspaper notices seem to presage" and his desire for an arrangement with Clarke in which Clarke handles all his paintings under a mutually profitable contract. Martin's prime objective in this endeavour was "a definite income," with which to rent a studio with good light as he was "badly handicapped" and working "with the greatest difficulty." A response to Ralph's request, written in an unidentified hand on behalf of Clarke to Martin, suggests that an "active picture concern such as Avery's would be the best for the results that you and your family hope for" as Clarke has ceased to show such work at his Art House.
Two letters from Elizabeth Martin and one from William Macbeth to Clarke touch on the fact that Clarke continued to deal in Martin's paintings through Macbeth at the end of Martin's life and after his death, despite his assertion in 1890 that he would no longer handle any other American paintings except those by George Inness.
Two notes written in an unidentified hand contain excerpts from 3 Martin letters and list 3 dates respectively.
|Letters from Martin to Thomas Clarke, 1893|
|Letters from Martin to Thomas Clarke, 1894|
|Letters from Martin to Thomas Clarke, 1895|
|Letters from Martin to Thomas Clarke, 1896|
|Letter from Martin to "Robo" (Montgomery Schuyler), 1895|
|Letters from Ralph Martin to Thomas Clarke, 1896|
|Letters from Elizabeth Martin and William Macbeth to Thomas Clarke, 1897|
|Letter to Martin for Clarke by Unknown, 1896|
|Notes on Letters in Unidentified Hand, circa 1896|