Indian Beauty Parlor
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 braiding her husband's hair. In addition to the sweetness of the moment, the painting is noteworthy for the artist's painstaking attention to accuracy and detail in his rendering of the furnishings of the tepee and the young couple's attire.