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Charles M. Russell’s Wild Side Revealed in New “Harmless Hunter” Show April 15, 2014  |  Categories: Exhibits

National Museum of Wildlife Art debuts tour of cowboy artist’s animal artwork in May

Charles M. Russell (United States, 1864 – 1926), Old Man Coyote Listens. Ink on Paper. 5.50 x 6.25 inches (left) and Oh Mother, What Is It?, n.d.. Bronze. 4 x 8 1/2 x 4 3/4 inches (right). Both, JKM Collection®, National Museum of Wildlife Art.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – April 14, 2014 – America’s favorite cowboy artist will be featured in a new show, “Harmless Hunter: The Wildlife Work of Charles M. Russell,” debuting at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, May 17 – August 17 in Jackson, Wyo. The first ever compilation of Russell’s many takes on the animal kingdom – and with an unexpected conservation message – the show will offer summer road trippers one more fabulous thing to do in Jackson Hole this summer.

Though he’s perhaps best known for his  popular artworks featuring cowboys, Native Americans and Western landscapes, “this show focuses for the first time on Russell’s paintings of wildlife, which constitute roughly a quarter of his oeuvre,” says B. Byron Price, director of the Charles M. Russell Center and University of Oklahoma Press. Price is guest curator for “Harmless Hunter” show, so named “because that’s the way Russell referred to himself in a letter to a friend.  Russell believed in the superiority of nature and although he enjoyed the camaraderie of a hunting camp, he would not participate in the killing of animals for food or sport,” explains Price.

Born in St. Louis, Mo., in 1864, Russell lit out for Montana at the age of 16, determined to become a cowboy, and eventually worked for a number of outfits before turning to art full-time. The prolific Russell was very popular in his lifetime, producing thousands of artworks from his unassuming Montana studio. “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,” says Price.

Russell also captured the rapid changes to wild lands and creatures with the settlement of the West in his work. “Many of Russell’s paintings and sculptures celebrate the majesty and harmony of nature,” says Price. “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.”

The National Museum of Wildlife Art will offer a number of interactive events and activities in association with its debut of the “Harmless Hunter” exhibition, which also features a companion publication by B. Byron Price. The show will remain on display at the museum in Jackson Hole through August 17, 2014, before touring to the Sam Noble Museum in Norman, Okla., the Rockwell Museum of Western Art in Corning, N.Y., and the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Mont. “Harmless Hunter” is 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.

A member of the Association of Art Museum Directors and the Museums West consortium and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the museum, officially designated the National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States by an act of Congress in 2008, provides an exciting calendar of exhibitions from its permanent collection and changing exhibitions from around the globe. A complete schedule of exhibitions and events is available online at www.wildlifeart.org. The museum is also active on Facebook and on Twitter at @WildlifeArtJH.

Media Contact: Darla Worden, WordenGroup Strategic Public Relations, 307.734.5335, darla@wordenpr.com