American Art

American Art

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 55. CHARLES MARION RUSSELL | BEFORE THE WHITE MAN CAME (INDIAN GAME HUNT).

CHARLES MARION RUSSELL | BEFORE THE WHITE MAN CAME (INDIAN GAME HUNT)

Auction Closed

November 19, 04:22 PM GMT

Estimate

400,000 - 600,000 USD

Lot Details

Description

CHARLES MARION RUSSELL

1864 - 1926

BEFORE THE WHITE MAN CAME (INDIAN GAME HUNT)


signed CM Russell and inscribed with the artist's skull device and dated 1897 (lower left)

oil en grisaille on board

18 by 24 ⅜ inches

(45.7 by 61.9 cm)

Painted in 1897.


This work is number CR.PC.34 in the online catalogue raisonné of the artist's work at www.russellraisonne.com.

Please note the following amendments to the printed catalogue. Please note the correct measurements for this work are:18 by 24 3/8 inches (45.7 by 61.9 cm)

Kennedy Galleries, New York

Walter Reed Bimson, Phoenix, Arizona, 1955 (acquired from the above)

Valley National Bank of Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona

Acquired by the present owner from the above, 2004

Western Field & Stream, vol. 2, no. 7, December 1897, halftone illustrated p. 182

"Striking Pictures of Frontier Life," Field and Stream, vol. 3, no. 4, July 1898, illustrated p. XIX

Field and Stream, vol. 5, no. 1, January 1900, illustrated p. 25

Field and Stream, vol. 5, no. 12, January 1901, illustrated pp. 719, 773

Harold McCracken, The Charles M. Russell Book, Garden City, New York, 1957, p. 184, illustrated 

John Taliaferro, Charles M. Russell: The Life and Legend of America’s Cowboy Artist, Norman, Oklahoma, 2003, p. 115

Painted in 1897, the present work is a thoughtful manifestation of Charles Marion Russell's deep respect and intimate knowledge of the Native Americans of the Plains. Before the White Man Came (Indian Game Hunt) epitomizes Russell's desire to preserve the spirit of the West. Here, he portrays a scene that at once captures the first interactions of the Native Americans with the frontier settlers, while paying tribute to a culture and lifestyle in peril. 


Russell understood the profound relationship between the Native Americans and the vanishing frontier. Art historian Peter Hassrick explains, "That Indian, symbolizing the Rousseauian natural man, was the single most significant symbol of the West for Russell. He found their way of life far more profound than any of the ephemeral proficiencies of his fellow cowboys, and their traditions represented timeless and universal values that only the arts could preserve. Civilization had crushed the plains culture. Despite the fact that the artist's vocation as a cowboy had indirectly caused the final depletion of the bison, Russell followed a self-enlightened mandate to celebrate and preserve the Indian image as noble. Just as he struggled to humanize the cowboy, he strove to idealize the Indian" (Charles M. Russell, New York, 1989, p. 50).