Cover Art Description:
As historian Brian W. Dippie notes in his Remington & Russell: The Sid Richardson Collection (rev. ed., 1994), Montana's cowboy artist Charlie Russell did not take to bronc busting. "My mind and theirs did not seem to work in unison," he explained. But because Russell visualized figures in the round, he had a superb feel for anatomy, so much so that he could twist animal and man into just about any stance. And the effect, so admired by Russell's protege Joe De Yong, was unparalleled realism.
In fact, earthy realism first brought the cowboy artist to De Yong's attention, for the first Russell image De Yong remembered seeing was "A Bucker" (alternately titled "A Weaver", 1904, pencil, watercolor, and gouche on paper, 16 1/4 x 12 1/4), reproduced on the front and back covers courtesy the Sid Richardson Collection of Western Art, Fort Worth, Texas. As Dippie relates, "'A Weaver', as the painting was titled at the time, was used in 1904 to advertise Heptol Splits, 'The Perfect Laxative.' Reproduced on tin trays, a 'Cowboy calendar,' and even a map of the St. Louis World's Fair grounds, it became one of the key images responsible for establishing Russell's national reputation in the take-off phase of his career. De Yong, an impressionable young cowboy from Oklahoma, was smitten." De Yong himself later wrote: "The first of . . . [Russell's] work I ever remember of seeing was a billboard advertisement for 'Heptol Splits' at St. Louis during the Worlds Fair in 1904. This showed a Montana Twister up on a weaver. Everything about it was right!"
A budding artist himself, De Yong went on to study under Russell and, after Russell's death in 1926, gained influence in Hollywood where he helped bring the Russell "look" to the silver screen by advising such directors as Cecil B. DeMille, Howard Hawks, and William Wellman on everything from costuming to set design. As Dan Gagliasso explains in an article beginning on page 2, Russell's "In Without Knocking" (1909, oil on canvas, 20 1/8 x 29 7/8) was one painting that influenced scene-setting for Shane, the 1953 classic directed by George Stevens.
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