Cover Art Description:
"Butte's City . . . is the hill's parent and midwife and offspring. When copper times are good it is the prodigal son, gayly living, gaming, tippling, profanely loving on its bounty of silver dollars. When times are bad it is the dependent parent, grumbling at the hill's penury, threatening dire trouble. But it is always delivering copper."
So wrote the captionist in describing Paul Starrett Sample's scene, Butte Hill (oil on canvas, 23-1/2" x 36"), which accompanied the first of a two-part series in Fortune magazine on the Anaconda Copper Mining Company (ACM). Sample's painting, reproduced on the cover, is now part of the Montana Historical Society Museum Collection. Fortune had secured a leave of absence for Sample (1896-1974), then an art professor at the University of Southern California, to have him execute eight paintings of Butte and Anaconda, Montana, for articles appearing in December 1936 and January 1937. Although his status as a representational regionalist would decline with the rise of impressionism after World War II, Sample, at the time he executed his Butte scenes, was at the apex of his career. Ultimately, Cornelius F. "Con" Kelley, the strong-willed head of ACM, acquired Butte Hill and three other of Sample's Fortune oil paintings. In 1966, Kelley's heirs donated them to the Montana Historical Society in Helena.
Among the mines Sample depicted in Butte Hill were from left at top, the Diamond, Never Sweat, and St. Lawrence. All three succumbed after 1955 to what became the Berkeley Pit. Such a scene fits well with the contents of this special issue of Montana, which is dedicated to, as Mary Murphy describes it in her introduction beginning on page 2, the resilient city with an unforgettable past.
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