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Museum: 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Gardens: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM
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All Items (Russell, Charles M.) (Paintings)
Collection Item
Though unsigned and undated, this is said by some experts to be Russell's first Indian portrait. Crowfoot, while born a Blood Indian, had been adopted into the Blackfoot tribe and eventually became its chief at the age of 35. Under his leadership, the Blackfoot avoided conflict with white settlers and troops, refusing to join forces with the Sioux after the Battle of Little Big Horn. In 1880-81, the tribe wintered in the Judith Basin and on the Musselshelf River in Montana where there were still buffalo to hunt. The young Kid Russell was in the same area at the time...
Created by: Russell, Charles M.
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Chief Joseph is one of the comparatively few Native American leaders whose name is known to the majority of Americans. As one historian tersely noted of his role in the Nez Perce War of 1877: "In 11 weeks he moved his tribe 11,000 miles, engaged 10 separate U.S. commands in 13 battles and skirmishes, and in nearly every instance had either defeated them or fought them to a standstill." Yet he probably remains best-known for his eloquence in defeat, via the famous speech in which he vowed, "I will fight no more forever". Nonetheless, he continued to devote the remainder...
Created by: Russell, Charles M.
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If Chief Joseph was famous, Chief Sitting Bull of the Lakota was closer to infamous, widely reviled after the spectacular defeat of Custer's 7th Cavalry at the Battle of Little Big Horn, or as Native Americans know it, the Battle of Greasy Grass Creek. Following the battle in 1876, he led his people to Saskatchewan, Canada, but returned to U.S. territory in 1881, shortly after Russell arrived in Montana. After performing for a time in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, he returned to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in the Dakotas. Fearing he would use his fame and influence to...
Created by: Russell, Charles M.
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The importing of horses into North America created a revolution in the lifestyle of the native population. Not only did they greatly expand mobility and increase territorial incursions, they also became a source for wealth, both on their own account and as a tool for trading. Raiding parties that sought to steal horses from enemy tribes were soon a regular rite of passage for young warriors and a source of revenue for their elders. In Covering the Trail, following a successful raid, the thieves are driving the stolen horses up a stream, attempting to conceal their trail until they reach...
Created by: Russell, Charles M.
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Among the Plains Indians, one method for a warrior to gain status outside of a full-scaled battle was to conduct a horse-stealing raid against the enemy. These forays also provided training and experience for younger warriors. While the braves wore mostly traditional attire, by the late 19th-century that included Hudsons Bay blanket coats for winter sorties like those worn by this raiding party. In addition to warmth, these also provided a sort of camouflage in patchy snow-covered terrain. This was one of Russells earliest oil paintings, as well as one of the first to be published abroad, featured as an...
Created by: Russell, Charles M.
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Like most cowboys, Russell had a lively and sometimes obstreperous sense of humor. This was most obviously revealed in the "tall tales" that were told around the campfire, like those of Pecos Bill that many of us recall from our childhood. This scene is probably the visual version of a Russell tall tale, as most preachers were at least nominally respected by even the "woolliest" cowboy. However, Russell was also making a barbed comment on the venality he perceived in many practitioners of organized religion. As his cowboy thief declares: If coin is the root of all evil Your reverence is going...
Created by: Russell, Charles M.
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Most of the well-known western artists of the late 19th century depicted Native Americans almost solely as warriors, the fearsome enemy of the civilizing white settlers and troops. Not only was Russell comparatively rare in his sympathy for the Indian's situation, he was also virtually unique in his depiction of their domestic life, particularly the role of women within Indian societies. Russell had himself lived among the Blood Indians for a time and rumors persisted that he had once had an Indian bride before his marriage to Nancy. Indian Beauty Parlor depicts the tender attention a young wife gives to...
Created by: Russell, Charles M.
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In 1880, when Russell first arrived in Montana, one observer estimated a herd of buffalo in the Judith Basin at 100,000 animals. The same observer, James Willard Schultz, also described a ritual particular to the mating season: "Now and then a herd in this mating season would come down off the plain in a swift run, plunge into the river, cross it, and wander up on the plain on the other side." Such is the scene Russell depicts here, one he was privileged to witness personally. But he barely made it. After the great hunts of 1881-82, the great herds...
Created by: Russell, Charles M.
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Russell was an established professional artist in February of 1906 when Casper Whitney, editor of Outing Magazine, commissioned him to go to Mexico to capture the image of the Mexican cowpuncher. Arrangements were made for him to stay at the hacienda of Don Luis Terrazas, owner of the largest ranch in the world, requiring 1,000 vaqueros to manage its cattle, horses, and mules. Russell witnessed them brand 75,000 calves that spring and painted numerous scenes of the vaqueros in action, like this lively scene of the roping of a longhorn. So pleased was Don Luis that he was instrumental in...
Created by: Russell, Charles M.
Collection Item
Around 1889, Russell adopted a buffalo skull as his "mark" alongside his signature. His affinity for the symbol was also indicated by his naming the summer cabin depicted here Bull Head Lodge. Always gregarious, the artist frequently invited guests to stay there and regaled them with tall tales and practical jokes. Best of all, they might find themselves the recipients of an invitation or thank you note like this one with an original artwork by Russell. Painted on birchbark with dried leaves appliqued, this note went to thank Russell's close friend, W.H. Bill Rance, co-owner of the Silver Dollar Saloon...
Created by: Russell, Charles M.
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