Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Charlie Russell On Western Wednesday...!

I'm sure that most of you have either seen one of Russell's paintings or sculptures, maybe without even knowing who it was from.

The ones I have seen are simply amazing, to say the least. I especially like his sculptures of the cowboys and their horses but his paintings are very enjoyable as well! You can find pictures of many of them on line.

Mar 19, 1864:
Artist Charlie Russell born

Charles Marion Russell, one of the greatest artists of the American West, is born on this day in St. Louis, Missouri.

According to family lore, Charlie Russell displayed an aptitude for art from a young age, reportedly drawing pictures and modeling in wax when he was a small child. At 16 years old, Russell's parents sent him to Montana under the care of a sheepherder. The independent young man struck out on his own soon after, finding work as a cowboy in the booming Montana ranching industry.

During long, often tedious days watching over cattle on the open range, Russell sketched the scenes around him. In the winter, when many cowboys were unemployed, Russell lived in various frontier towns and painted pictures to pay for his food and lodging. Friends said Russell also began carrying modeling clay with him during this time, making small sculptures during his spare moments.

Russell likely would have continued as an itinerant cowboy and amateur artist for the rest of his life had he not met a young woman named Mary Cooper. In 1896, the couple married, and Russell's new wife began to guide him toward a serious career in art. Russell found there was a growing market, especially among wealthy East Coast residents, for images of the disappearing American frontier. By 1920, he was making frequent trips to New York to paint western pictures for an increasing number of supportive patrons.

Russell rarely painted or sculpted from models or from life, relying on memory to recreate scenes from the life he had experienced. He had no real art training and little interest in the formal aesthetics of art. Though critics often ignored or derided his work, the public loved it. Initially, Russell's paintings and sculptures documented his early life as a cowboy, but later in his career, he also began to depict scenes from the lives of American Indians and historical figures. Many of his later paintings express Russell's melancholy attachment to the unspoiled West and his dislike of the "progress" that had plowed under the Great Plains and fenced in the open range.

Russell spent his final years in Great Falls, Montana, where he continued to paint until his death in 1926.

Thanks to artist like Russell and Remington, we have some fairly accurate depictions of real life in the old west. We owe them a great big "Thank You!"

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's still a tad chilly outside!


Chickenmom said...

Ah, behind every successful man....
It's a tad chilly here too, Mr. Hermit! Minus seven on the back deck and waiting for more dang snow! I'll bring a big box of Dunkin's!

Mamahen said...

Now I need to dig a little and find some examples of his work.....right at 0° here this a.m. ...a warm kitchen will be just the ticket :))

linda m said...

I love Charles Russell paintings. Some are so life like you just want to reach out and touch the buffalo. Wish I had enough money to own an original of his. O degrees here this AM. Would love to sit in you warm kitchen.

JO said...

I love Russell's work and also that of Remington. Their work speaks volumes of the old west.

I really feel for all you folks in those cold States. Meet you all in the kitchen. It has gotten too warm here to fast.

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

An interesting post that I enjoyed reading.

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

BBC said...

I like his paintings.

I like to watch western movies, notice that in many of them they are shooting what looks like percussion cap black powder pistols, but they really aren't.

The percussion cap period wasn't very long, by Charlies time most pistols were using cased bullets.

Dizzy-Dick said...

I looked up some of his paintings, and all I can say is WOW!!