DescriptionCharles Marion Russell (American, 1864-1926)
To Noses That Read a Smell That Spells Man, modeled 1920, cast 1951
Bronze with brown patina
4-1/2 inches (11.4 cm) high on a 1 inches (2.5 cm) high wood base
Inscribed along base: CM Russell / 'Roman Bronze Works N-Y-'
Inscribed on base: To Noses That Read / A Smell That / Spells Man
Kennedy Galleries, New York, 1974;
Private collection, New York.
Cast in the form of an ashtray, the present bronze depicts a wolf cautious of approaching an unidentifiable object - the flask.
Rick Stewart notes that "the wary animal recoils from the scent of an object that represents wolfs bitter enemy, man". In his lifetime Russell may have met Thompson Seton, the naturalist who studied wolves in their habitat and who noted that "No wolf will go near such suspicious-looking or human tainted things". The subject was not entirely well-received by some of Russell's clientele, as the use of the flask in the sculpture went against the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution - the prohibition of alcohol.
This particular example of To Noses That Read a Smell That Spells Man may be one of the five casts that was authorized by Earl Adams in 1951.
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