Charles Russell painting of a Cowboy on a Horse
Charles M. Russell (1864–1926), "High, Wide, and Handsome," 1919, watercolor, gouache, and pencil on paper, 16 x 12 1/2 in.

C.M. Russell Museum
Great Falls, Montana
August 18–21, 2022

It was in Great Falls, Montana, that the Western master Charles M. Russell (1864–1926) spent the second half of his life, and he died there in 1926.

Not surprisingly, the C.M. Russell Museum there is the world’s leading resource for discovering the artist, and now The Russell, its most important annual fundraiser, is set to resume this August after two years of pandemic-related distractions.

At the heart of the celebratory weekend is the August 20 auction, the highlight of which will be Russell’s rare 1919 watercolor, “High, Wide, and Handsome.” This depicts one of his most sought-after subjects — the bucking bronco.

Although Russell created many sketches of rodeo scenes, very few paintings resulted. “High, Wide, and Handsome” is a rare example showing a contestant vying for prize money. It was likely intended for use in the advertising of a rodeo close to Russell’s heart — the 1919 Calgary Stampede. Because rodeos became a substitute for Russell’s former cowboy life, his presence at the Calgary Stampede and pieces like this were his ongoing tributes to the cowboy tradition.

The auction on August 20 will feature many other works by Russell and by other historical and contemporary Western artists. Please visit the museum’s website for ticketing and bidding information.

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