As many of you know, I was born in Texas. I walked fields, rode a horse or two, and fell in love with more than one cowboy. After all, who can resist a cowboy?
Through the years, I had the pleasure of visiting the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth where I first spotted a Russell sculpture. The detail and design of the cowboys working with horses and other animals fascinated me.
So, when we decided to drive through Great Falls, Montana, I was very excited by the prospect of visiting Charles M. Russell museum. Not only does his home and studio sit on a corner of a quiet neighborhood, but a huge building houses his artwork. It also supports other artists. There are more current pieces throughout the building along with a gun collection that he used to get every detail of the weapons correct.
He grew up in Missouri but convinced his parents to let him move to Montana to work on a ranch. He fell in love with the land and appreciated the cowboys that worked it. Fond of sketching pictures on postcards and letters, his boss shared one of these with the owner of the ranch. Pleased by the picture, the owner shared it with his friends. This brought him work as an artist and gave him the opportunity to paint.
Charles gained international acclaim, mainly due to his wife who was his manager and set up many showings across the country. Even after his death in 1926, his art has lived on and is still sought after by collectors around the world.
I was surprised by the detail of his sketches and paintings. He used all sorts of mediums; oil painting, pencils, and bronze sculptures. As a self-educated artist, he had no formal training until early 1900 when he traveled to New York and was introduced to other artists and illustrators. His journey into the art world was not always easy but he followed his heart, leaving behind a collection of pieces that celebrate women, cowboys, and a life on the western frontier.
If you are in the area, I highly recommend you stop by for a visit.
Here is a sample of his work.
If you would like to see any of my other travel video - here is the link.