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Olaf Carl Seltzer (American, 1877-1957)

Also known as:  Seltzer, Olaf Carl

O.C. Seltzer was born in Copenhagen and began his training as an artist at the age of twelve. However, his schooling was cut short by the death of his family and the subsequent move of his mother to Great Falls, Montana in 1892. There he found work as a cowboy and machinist for the railroad. A few years later, he met Charles M. Russell, and the two became lifelong friends. They frequently took painting trips together, visited each other in their studios, and critiqued one another's work. Both artists chose to paint the Indians and cowboys of Montana.

Seltzer's work is often compared with that of his friend and mentor, Russell. So similar were their styles, that the work of Seltzer is frequently attributed to Russell. While many critics have found Seltzer's work to be the lesser of the two cowboy artists, Russell himself said that painting with Seltzer had greatly influenced his art in terms of color and values. Like Russell, Seltzer painted in both oils and water solubles, and also like Russell, his greatest skill as an artist is perhaps best represented in his watercolors and gouaches. Vaquero shows his skill with that medium and his sure control of subject and style. A master at depicting the cowboy life of the Northern Plains, Seltzer's shows here that he is equally adept at capturing the cattle culture of the Southwest.

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