Charles Marion Russell

Charles Russell was a Western American artist, storyteller and sculptor that possessed a deep love for Montana and all its wildness. His subject matter earned him the nickname the “cowboy artist” with his paintings and sculptures that personified the Wild West in the late 1800’s. Born in St.Louis, MO on March 19, 1864, Russell began his life surrounded by traders and explorers. With an urge to be a cowboy himself, he moved to Montana in 1880 to work a sheep ranch and ended up staying in Montana for the rest of his life.

He skirted through harsh winters which he documented through paintings, lived with American Indians for a brief time and eventually moved to Great Falls, Montana where he stayed until his death in October 1926. With no formal school on art, his painting was self-taught and completed in his free time while he worked the ranch. It wasn’t until later in his life and with greater notoriety that he was able to become an artist full time and travel to New York to study more paintings, thus growing his reputation and skill.

He is famous for his paintings and bronze sculptures with his subjects ranging anywhere from important events (Lewis and Clark Expedition) to the everyday (Indian women getting water), but always with an emphasis on the Wild West.