81
81

PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE AMERICAN COLLECTOR

Charles Marion Russell 1864 - 1926
INDIANS TRAVELING ON TRAVOIS
Estimate
300,000500,000
LOT SOLD. 312,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
81

PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE AMERICAN COLLECTOR

Charles Marion Russell 1864 - 1926
INDIANS TRAVELING ON TRAVOIS
Estimate
300,000500,000
LOT SOLD. 312,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

American Art

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New York

Charles Marion Russell 1864 - 1926
INDIANS TRAVELING ON TRAVOIS
signed CMRussell with the artist's skull device and dated 1903 (lower right)
watercolor and gouache on board
7 3/4 by 13 3/4 inches
(19.7 by 34.9 cm)
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This work is numbered CR.UNL.309 in the online catalogue raisonné of the artist's work at www.russellraisonne.com. 

Provenance

Isabel Russell Wenneis (the artist's niece)
Private Collection, Fullerton, California (by descent; sold: Sotheby's, New York, May 22, 1996, lot 103, illustrated)
Acquired by the present owner at the above sale

Exhibited

Phoenix, Arizona, Phoenix Art Museum, n.d. (on loan)
Santa Ana, California, The Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, n.d. (on loan)

Catalogue Note

By the time Charles Marion Russell painted Indians Traveling on Travois in 1903, he was reaching the peak of his technical skill. In this work, which was a Christmas present for his young niece Isabel Russell Wenneis, a group of Native Americans on horseback approach the banks of a river. One member of the group shades his eyes to peer out to the horizon. In tow behind the travois, Russell suggests the outlines of additional members of the tribe. Their silhouettes appear like apparitions, fading both into and out of the rugged western landscape. The ambiguity of these figures and the surrounding topography imply the uncertain fate of the Old West and the looming encroachment of modern industry and development. In a copy of a letter attached to the backing, the artist’s niece Isabel writes: “This picture of Indians travelling with their belongings on travois was painted for me when I was a child by my uncle, Charles Marion Russell, who sent it in a Christmas box with gifts for the entire family../Isabel Russell Wenneis/January 5, 1968.

Russell first traveled to the West in 1880 when his family sent him on a trip to Montana for his sixteenth birthday. While his parents viewed the trip as an opportunity to motivate their son and his academic pursuits, Russell saw it as a chance to fulfill his dream of associating with the burgeoning frontier. His arrival coincided with the western cattle boom and after a two-year apprenticeship Russell was working as a horse wrangler on the drives. According to Peter Hassrick, "The earliest Montana remembrances of Charlie were of a boy known as a 'Kid Russell,' who, along with being rough and ready, was known to carry art supplies in an old sock and who impressed associates and passersby with his abilities at painting and sculpture" (Charles Russell, New York, 1989, p. 21). While in Montana, Russell frequently confronted local Indians whose territories were receding as a result of the cattle business, railroads, and the increasing numbers of settlers. Russell, who was sympathetic to the fate of the Native Americans, developed a deep understanding of their way of life, which he sought to capture in works such as Indians Traveling on Travois.

American Art

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New York