Cover Art Description:
This issue of Montana concentrates on the twentieth-century West, but Montana's cowboy artist Charlie Russell could find the turn of the century bothersome. So it was for his painting, Life Saver (watercolor, 20 1/2" x 15 3/4"), reproduced on the cover courtesy the Charles M. Russell Museum of Great Falls. According to Russell scholar and art historian Brian W. Dippie of the University of Victoria, this was the "after" illustration in a pair of before-and-after watercolors painted in 1910 for the Life Saver Seat Lock Company of Minneapolis and Winnipeg. "It was to advertise the company's adjustable seat lock," Dippie says, "which securely fastened the wagon seat to the wagon box, thus preventing driver and passengers from being thrown when a road-hogging automobile of the sort shown forced them into the ditch.
"Russell did a minor amount of advertising art," Dippie continued in a generous note to the editor. "His contracts with large calendar companies prevented him from doing more. Life Saver, and its companion An Old Story (also at the Russell Museum), serve to remind us of Russell's fondness for painting pairsbuffalo hunts with a matching prelude or aftermath, matched studies of Indian men and women, wild animals, etc. This is a neglected aspect of his artistry, especially since what were at one time companion pieces have sometimes become separated over the years, obscuring the link between them."
In this issue, articles focus on radical politics in Montana's far northeastern "red corner," the rise of the modern ski industry, Mike Mansfield's years in the U.S. Senate, Norman Maclean and Robert Utley's writing on Custer, and Great Falls during WW II. In connection with the latter and reproduced on the back cover are a wartime ration book and a War Department poster from 1944 featuring a painting by "Schlaiker" that depicts a heroic airman. Both are in the Society's Museum collection. The ration book was the gift of Darrell Beckstrom; the poster a gift of the Montana Tech Library in Butte.
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