Montana’s Artist: Charles Marion Russell
Growing up in Great Falls you learn a lot about Charlie Russell.
I attended Russell Elementary School. Our classes took field trips to the Russell Art Museum. I am a graduate of C.M. Russell High School. I've been through the C.M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. And I once emceed the Russell Art Auction that's held every year in March, which coincides with Charlie's birthday, which is March 19th.
If you ever find yourself in Cascade, you can visit the honeymoon cottage that he and his wife Nancy lived in when they were first married.
And because it's a small world, the narrator's voice that you will hear there is my dad's.
In Washington D.C, the National Statutory Hall houses two statues from each state. One of Montana's is Charlie Russell. The other is Jeanette Rankin, the first woman to serve in congress in 1916, and the only member of Congress to vote against the war with Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
According to an article in the LA Times, "In 1911, the state commissioned him to paint a 12-by-25-foot mural that hangs above the Speaker's platform in the state House of Representatives," and it was said "Charlie was paid $4,600", estimating that now, the painting's value is in the millions.
You can also check out Mr. Russell's work across from the capitol in Helena at the Russell Gallery of the Montana Historical Society. He also some of his work in Cody, Wyoming at the Buffalo Bill Center Of The West. But if you go there, don't leave without checking out the Cody Firearms Museum, because it's impressive.
From the LA Times again, Charlie Russell once wrote, "I am an illustrator. There are lots better ones, but some worse. Any man that makes a living doing what he likes is lucky and I am that."
Sounds like another guy that I know.
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