An attractive portrait of Clark, more cerebral than most, but what gives it particular interest is to whom it's addressed:
It's to another fabled film personage, Erich von Stroheim (or, as Gable writes here, "Joseph Erich Von Stroheim"). I'm not sure how they came to know each other; they never collaborated on a film.
von Stroheim (1885-1957) is a testament of the power of film to reinvent oneself. He claimed to be of aristocratic Prussian lineage; actually, he was the son of a Jewish tailor from Vienna, emigrating to the U.S. in 1909. He found work as an actor, gaining renown as "the man you love to hate," then moved into directing with several hit movies ("Foolish Wives," "The Wedding March") and a few flops ("Greed," now considered a masterpiece, although von Stroheim's original epic nine-hour version is now feared lost). His profliate, self-indulgent directorial ways eventually doomed his career, and he returned to acting, most notably in "The Grand Illusion" and "Sunset Boulevard."
Now here's the Lombard photo:
We presume it isn't addressed to anyone of similar renown. That's because with Carole's penmanship here, it's hard to decipher just whom this was made out to:
At least, we can make out the message: "My very best to you always." It appears to have been taken in the late 1930s.
The items are at lot #2269. If either or both catch your interest (bidding is projected to begin at between $200 and $300, but will likely go much higher), go to http://www.profilesinhistory.com/new/index.php?option=com_auctions&catid=34.