Russell, Charles M. (Charles Marion), 1864-1926

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1864-03-19
Death 1926-10-24
Americans

Biographical notes:

American cowboy and artist of the American West.

From the description of Photographs, {ca. 1910}. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 145435693

American painter and sculptor of western scenes and subjects.

From the description of Ephemera, 1900-1964. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122497326

From the guide to the Charles M. Russell ephemera, 1900-1964, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Russell, Charles Marion, artist, cowboy (Mar. 19, 1864-Oct. 24, 1926). Born at St. Louis, he was related to the Bents of fur trade fame. He made his first trip west in 1880, the same year Remington toured the wild country. Russell visited Helena and the Judith Basin, 200 miles distant, stopping briefly at a sheep ranch, then joined up with Jake Hoover, a back country prospector and hunter. He stayed with Hoover two years, roaming the wilderness and observing, learning and remembering. He returned to St. Louis in 1882, but came back to Montana in March, obtaining a job as a night-hawk in April for the 12 Z & V ranch. He took part in the 1882 Judith roundup, one of the biggest in Montana until that time, eventually becoming a full-fledged cowboy. Indians, Blackfeet mostly, roamed the country and Russell came to know them, seeing too the last of the buffalo and other integral components of the harsh northern wilderness.

From the description of Photographs, ca. 1880-1926. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 80530623

Charles Marion Russell was an artist and cowboy in Montana. He was borin in 1864 and died in 1926. He produced more than 2,600 pieces of preserved art work in all.

From the description of Charles Marion Russell collection, ca. 1864-1926. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 368015001

Artist of the American West.

From the description of Letters, 1913-ca. 1920. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 145435937

Charles Russell was an artist, writer, and environmentalist. He was an advocate for the Plains Indians and lived most of his life in Montana.

From the description of Charles M. Russell's genuine portrayals of the old west by the greatest western artist, scrapbook 1905-1930 bulk 1925-1930. (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 67615594

American cowboy, author, and artist of the American West.

From the description of Papers, 1904-1971. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122622734

From the guide to the Charles M. Russell papers, 1904-1971, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Painter, sculptor, illustrator and writer; Great Falls, Montana.

From the description of Charles M. Russell letters, 1902-1926. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122552943

Charles M. Russell (1864-1926) was a cowboy and artist in Montana.

From the description of Charles M. Russell papers, circa 1880s-1920s. (Brigham Young University). WorldCat record id: 228078868

Charles Marion Russell (1862-1926) was a cowboy known for his drawings.

Russell, Charles Marion, artist, cowboy (Mar. 19, 1864-Oct. 24, 1926). Born at St. Louis, he was related to the Bents of fur trade fame. He made his first trip west in 1880, the same year Remington toured the wild country. Russell visited Helena and the Judith Basin, 200 miles distant, stopping briefly at a sheep ranch, then joined up with Jake Hoover, a back country prospector and hunter. He stayed with Hoover two years, roaming the wilderness and observing, learning and remembering. He returned to St. Louis in 1882, but came back to Montana in March, obtaining a job as a night-hawk in April for the 12 Z & V ranch. He took part in the 1882 Judith roundup, one of the biggest in Montana until that time, eventually becoming a full-fledged cowboy. Indians, Blackfeet mostly, roamed the country and Russell came to know them, seeing too the last of the buffalo and other integral components of the harsh northern wilderness.

Russell, Charles Marion, artist, cowboy (Mar. 19, 1864-Oct. 24, 1926). Born at St. Louis, he was related to the Bents of fur trade fame. He made his first trip west in 1880, the same year Remington toured the wild country. Russell visited Helena and the Judith Basin, 200 miles distant, stopping briefly at a sheep ranch, then joined up with Jake Hoover, a back country prospector and hunter. He stayed with Hoover two years, roaming the wilderness and observing, learning and remembering. He returned to St. Louis in 1882, but came back to Montana in March, obtaining a job as a night-hawk in April for the 12 Z & V ranch. He took part in the 1882 Judith roundup, one of the biggest in Montana until that time, eventually becoming a full-fledged cowboy. Indians, Blackfeet mostly, roamed the country and Russell came to know them, seeing too the last of the buffalo and other integral components of the harsh northern wilderness.

He established a small place of his own in Pigeye Gulch, out of Utica. For about 11 years he drifted as a cowboy, hunter, and keen-eyed observor through the cow-and-Indian country, becoming locally famed as an artist of sorts, in watercolors and clay modeling. The summer of 1886 was very dry, the following winter a disastrous time with blizzards following one another, all but destroying the range industry. Russell worked with Jesse Phelps that winter. When the owner in Helena asked in early spring for a report on his stock, Charles sent his famous sketch of the lone steer surrounded by coyotes, with the legend, "Waiting for a Chinook." Someone added the line, "Last of the 5,000," and Russell's reputation was assured. The tiny picture has been preserved and is owned by the Historical Society of Montana at Helena. Russell wintered with the Bloods of Canada in 1888-89, then returned to Montana with a wagon freighting outfit. Harper's Weekly had published his "Caught in the Act" in 1888, and Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper on May 18, 1889, printed a full page of his drawings. A portfolio came out in 1890, and an article about him appeared in New York in 1891. His fame grew steadily from then forward, although for years his pictures were traded for drinks, given to friends, or sold for pittances. Some of them were ribald, but all were good-natured, filled with enthusiasm and life and zest.

He married Nancy Cooper of Kentucky, 14 years his junior, September 9, 1896, and the following year moved from Cascade to Great Falls, where he established the studio where he would work the remainder of his life. Nancy quickly came to appreciate his unique talent. She persuaded him to reduce his drinking and by 1908 to end it, and with a sharp eye quickly caused him to place more value upon his work. After two trips to New York he was established as a major artist, if unique and specialized, and he held his first one-man show on Fifth Avenue in 1911. By 1920 he had reached the peak. He produced more than 2,600 pieces of preserved art work in all. His first Rawhide Rawlins book was published in 1921.

He died of a heart attack following a goiter operation, and his body was conveyed to the cemetery in a hearse drawn by two black horses, as he had wished, driven by Ed Vance, an old-time stagecoach driver. Will Rogers remarked, "He wasn't just 'Another Artist.' He wasn't 'just another' anything...." [This biographical sketch taken from Dan L. Thrapp, Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography, Spokane, Washington: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1990, Vol. 3, p. 1250.] Other brief biographical sketches are available in The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Biography, New York: McGraw Hill, 1973, and in Howard R. Lamar, ed., The Reader's Encyclopedia of the American West, New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1977, p. 1052. The latter includes a partial list of holders of major collections of Russell's art work. Useful books about Russell include the following: Ramon F. Adams and Homer E. Britzman, Charles M. Russell, the Cowboy Artist: a Biography (1948); Harold McCracken, The Charles M. Russell Book (1957); Paul Rossi and David C. Hunt, The Art of the Old West (1971); and Karl Yost and Frederic G. Renner, compilers, A Bibliography of the Published Works of Charles M. Russell (1971).

From the guide to the Charles M. Russell photograph collection, 1864-1926, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

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Subjects:

  • Artists, American--Portraits
  • Facsimile image available (C709.73 D437or). See Librarian for location
  • Comedians--Portraits
  • Animals--Photographs
  • Art--United States--Exhibitions--History--Sources
  • Material Types
  • Artists, American
  • Landscape--Photographs
  • Painters
  • Sculptors
  • Fine Arts
  • Art--Exhibitions--History--Sources
  • Indians of North America--Pictorial works
  • Art publishing--United States--History--Sources
  • Drawing, American
  • Actors--Portraits
  • Art publishing--History--Sources
  • Cowboys
  • Artists, American--Biography--Sources
  • Indians of North America
  • Illustrators
  • Artists--Montana
  • Art, American History Sources
  • Greeting cards
  • Authors, American--Biography--Sources
  • Artists--United States--Biography--Sources
  • Sihasapa Indians
  • Art, American
  • Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
  • Artists--Correspondence
  • Sculpture, American
  • Indians in art
  • Artists
  • Cowboys--Photographs
  • Images
  • Publication
  • Historians--Correspondence

Occupations:

  • Artists

Places:

  • Miles City (Mont.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • West (U.S.) (as recorded)
  • West (U.S.) (as recorded)
  • Montana (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Montana (as recorded)
  • Montana (as recorded)
  • West (U.S.) (as recorded)
  • Great Plains (as recorded)