The Wildlife Work of Charles M. Russell
May 17 2014 - August 17 2014
About the Exhibition
Organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Collaboration with the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West, University of Oklahoma. Curated and with a catalogue by B. Byron Price, Director, Charles M. Russell Center and University of Oklahoma Press.
This touring exhibit features a companion publication and premieres at the National Museum of Wildlife Art before touring to the Sam Noble Museum in Norman, Oklahoma, the Rockwell Museum of Western Art in Corning, New York, and the CM Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana.
From Guest Curator B. Byron Price: “Charles M. Russell’s artistic oeuvre is replete with images of animals, wild and domestic. Depictions of the feral variety comprise roughly a quarter of his total production of paintings, drawings, and sculpture. Wild creatures also figure in some of his most interesting illustrated letters. If wild horses and cattle are included, the percentage of animal paintings is even higher. Russell’s wildlife art attracted avid patronage—from the publishers of books, magazines, and calendars seeking illustrations—to wealthy businessmen anxious to decorate their clubrooms with scenes of nature and the hunt, symbols of what President Theodore Roosevelt called the ‘strenuous life.’ Many of Russell’s paintings and sculptures celebrate the majesty and harmony of nature and portray a symbiotic, if somewhat romanticized view of the relationship of Native Americans with the land. Works featuring wildlife and human interaction, however, often address more problematic environmental themes, most of them a reflection of the rapid changes wrought by the onset of settlement, economic development, and near decimation of wild game.”