The Enemy's Tracks by Charles M. Russell

Name: The Enemy's Tracks | Artist: Charles M. Russell Media: Bronze | Year(s): ca. 1929 - 1934
Charles M. Russell | The Enemy's Tracks | ca. 1929 - 1934 | Bronze | Private Collection

About the Work

As a young boy, Russell showed natural talent for modeling. Clay that could be made into high-quality, fire-retardant materials was mined and processed on the family property. Family lore has it that his first clay sculpture was a bear, modeled from clay the four-year-old scraped from his shoes. Charlie's father often took his young son to the plant where he modeled animals from the natural clay and coaxed the workmen to place these in the kilns. Influenced by the success of other western sculptors, Russell began creating sculptures to be cast in bronze in 1905. During his lifetime he produced forty-six subjects in bronze. The Enemy's Tracks, the twenty-third of those subjects, portrays a mounted Blackfoot warrior leaning over to examine fresh tracks. He holds a long lance in his left hand, while a bow case and quiver hangs down across his lower back and right leg. His hair is braided and parted with a long, stiffened lock hanging over the forehead, in Blackfoot fashion. Several indicators suggest this warrior may be on a revenge raid: the braiding and knotting of the horse's tail, the feather hanging from the horse's mane on its forehead, and the geometric markings on the horse's flank that denote leadership of a war party.