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Auction Name: 2021 November 5 American Art Signature® Auction
Lot Number: 67013
Shortcut to Lot: HA.com/8058-67013
Charles Marion Russell (American, 1864-1926)The Lone Scout
Watercolor and pencil on paper
10 x 14 inches (25.4 x 35.6 cm) (sheet)
Signed and dated lower left: CM Russell / 1898
Private collection, Savoy, Illinois, by descent.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Charlie Russell's fascination with the American frontier began early on in life. His love for the stories of the West led him to Montana as a teenager where he became a cowhand. During his time in Montana, Russell gained a deep sympathy and tremendous understanding of the Native American way of life. He befriended members of the Crow, Blackfeet, and Arapaho tribes and, in 1888, lived with the Kainai Nation in Canada, where he learned the language and traditions of the tribesmen. Russell had a great sensitivity to the vanishing culture and land of the Native Americans. He dedicated his career to documenting their life, the romanticized visions of the days before settlers, and the end of the American Frontier. Larry Len Peterson writes, "No Western American artist fought back harder against racism, sexism, and championed environmentalism more than did Charles M. Russell. He thrived on imagining a time when the land was pristine, women were held in high regard, and people of color were the heroes." (American West Reimagined)
In 1893, Russell fully turned his attention towards his career as a painter and illustrator. His earliest works were of war bonneted Indians on horseback. Completed in 1898, the same year Russell cast his first bronze, The Lone Scout
is an exquisite example of the artist's early work, when he was still very much honing his craft and refining his creative style. Here, Russell depicts a strong Native American man, poised with wisdom, determination, and courage, as he navigates the rugged terrain on horseback. With a fierce gaze, weapon in hand, and the other hand tight on the reins, this warrior is prepared for anything that may come his way. Known as one of the great storytellers of the West, Russell cleverly captures a moment of suspense, in this case leaving the story up to the viewer's imagination. One can't resist contemplating the endurance and dedication of these extraordinary Americans. As noted by art historian Arthur Hoeber, "[Russell] paints the West that has passed from an intimate personal knowledge of it: for he was there in the midst of it all, and he has the tang of its spirit in blood. He has recorded something of the earlier days in the life of a country, of its people, of their curious ways and occupations, a life that has practically passed." (Ibid., p. 101)The Lone Scout
and Scouting Party
(lot 67014) are both fresh to the market, having never been seen until their recent discovery in an old trunk that belonged to the current owner's grandmother. Heritage Auctions is honored to present these newly rediscovered masterworks for the first time.The Lone Scout
will be included in the C.M. Russell Catalogue Raisonné
, as "Untitled", no. CR.NE.840
Condition report available upon request.
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