Western Treasures reflects Sid Richardson’s fascination with the American West and affirms his foresight in collecting paintings by the artists who best captured the spirit and history of our western frontier.
This special exhibition provides a unique opportunity to celebrate the strength of the collection and gain an appreciation of the early work of Russell, with emphasis on his affinity with the American Indian.
Western Treasures reunites significant paintings by Charles M. Russell, Frederic Remington, and their contemporaries with rarely seen paintings from the Museum’s permanent collection, combined with six bronze sculptures by Remington and Russell, on loan from private collectors.
One of the oldest Russell paintings collected by Sid Richardson, Western Scene, ca.1885, is making its debut in the Museum gallery. Painted with house paint on a narrow pine board for his friend James R. Shelton, the painting first hung behind the bar in Shelton’s saloon in Montana’s Judith Basin. Western Scene depicts themes Russell returns to throughout his life and includes a buffalo skull, later to become his trademark.
The Scout, a 1907 watercolor by Russell, complements the Russell bronze, The Enemy’s Tracks (ca.1929- 1934), a mounted Blackfoot warrior leaning over to examine tracks. With The Scout and The Enemy’s Tracks, Russell captures life and death duties of the Indian scout on the frontier. It is one of the five Russell bronzes on loan from private collections, selected for this exhibition to complement the strength of Russell’s American Indian themes represented in the Museum’s collection.
Schreyvogel’s Attack on the Herd is paired with Remington’s bronze, Dragoons 1850 (1917). Striking in its scale, Dragoons 1850, like Attack on the Herd (ca.1907), captures a dramatic moment of combat on horseback. In their day, only Schreyvogel rivaled Remington in the public’s esteem.