Charles Marion Russell Biography | Oil Paintings
3-19-1864 St. Louis, USA - 10-24-1926 Great Falls, USABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Charles Marion Russell is also known as C. M. Russell, Charlie Russell, and "Kid" Russell. At the age of sixteen, Charles Marion Russell left school and went up north to Montana to work on a sheep ranch. After an unsuccessful stint working on a sheep ranch, he worked as a cowboy for a number of different ranches and documented the harsh winter of 1886-1887 in a number of watercolors. Russell was working on the O-H Ranch when the ranch foreman received a letter from the owner, asking how the cattle herd had weathered the winter. Instead of a letter, the ranch foreman sent a postcard-sized watercolor Charles Marion Russell had painted of thin and bony steer being watched by wolves. The ranch owner was not happy, but impressed with the painting and showed the postcard to friends and business acquaintances and eventually displayed it in a shop window. After this, work began to come steadily to the self-taught artist C. M. Russel.
In 1888, for one year, Charlie Russell lived with the Blood Indians, part of the Blackfeet tribe, were he learned intimately the culture of the Native American Indians.
In 1896, Russell who was thirty-two married his wife Nancy who was eighteen. As Russell was not skilled in advertising or marketing his work properly, his wife took on the responsibility of making Charles Marion Russell an internationally known artist. She set up many art shows, exposing his work throughout the United States and in London, and creating many followers of Russell.
Charles Marion Russell was fortunate that the "wild west" and cowboy American Western Art was being chronicled and sold to the public in many forms, even if the stories were exaggerated, ranging from the cheap novel to the wild west show and soon evolved into silent motion pictures, the westerns that have become a movie staple.
"Kid" Russell's works comprised a wide variety of topics, including major historical events and regular day to day existence in the west. His work was noted for portraying well-known events from the perspective of the Native American Indians instead of “white man's” viewpoint.
At an auction in 2008, Charles Marion Russell's oil painting The Hold Up sold for US$5.2 million. In 2014 Russell's watercolor Trail of the Iron Horse sold for $1.9 million, while Dakota Chief was auctioned for $1.1 million.
Art Movement: American Western Art.
He Traveled To Canada, England.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.