Cover Art Description:
Historians, friends, and admirers have told Charles M. Russellís life story hundreds of times in all manner of books, pamphlets, interpretive signage, and oral narratives. His drawings and paintings have decorated bars, smoking rooms, galleries, letters, books, and postcards. Families that measure their history in Montana in generations possess time-honored tales of Russellís unquenchable good cheer and selflessness. In certain respects Russellís likeability and down-to-earth good nature worked against his being taken seriously as an artist by some critics early in his career, but his Indian Huntersí Return (1900, oil on canvas, 24" x 36") on the cover clearly marks him as a painter who understood deeply the rhythms of western life for all its inhabitants, in this case those of the Bloods of Canada. Before he painted this canvas, working cowboys and horse-mounted riders dominated Russellís work. Moreover, his earlier depictions of Indians tended to be relatively static and unemotional. In this lively and detailed work, though, Russell captures that crucial moment during winter when a huntís results determines life and death for the huntersí families. The sheer exuberance and relief etched on faces in the camp reflect Russellís own recollections of time spent with the Bloods.
Indian Huntersí Return is a featured painting in the Montana Historical Societyís Mackay Collection.
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