The C.M. Russell Museum announced today that an original oil painting by Charles M. Russell has been consigned to the live auction on March 22, 2014, for The Russell: An Exhibition and Sale to Benefit the C.M. Russell Museum.
Charles M. Russell painted this dramatic oil, titled Offering a Truce [Bested], in 1895, and it is estimated to sell for between $1,300,000 and $1,800,000, the highest-ever asking amount in the history of The Russell Exhibition and Sale.
Sarah Burt, Chief Curator of the C.M. Russell Museum, described the history behind this oil. “Russell based this painting on an actual shoot-out between horse thieves and one of the best known vigilant groups, ‘Stuart’s Stranglers,’ led by the colorful Granville Stuart (1834-1918). It depicts the bloody aftermath of the shoot-out, when fallen horses serve as the only shields against the gunfire. The shell casings that litter the ground and the empty bullet loops on the outlaws’ gun belts illustrate the need for surrender.
“As one of Russell’s more ambitious works of the mid-1890s,” Burt continued, “Offering a Truce became quite well-known during the artist’s early career, and as a result, it now possesses a blue-ribbon provenance.”
Initially among the group of oils owned by Charles Schatzlein (Russell’s close friend and first art dealer) of Butte, Montana, the work was a favorite of William B. Cameron, editor of Western Field and Stream, who published it as an illustration in the September 1897 issue of his magazine. The painting later entered the famous Mint Saloon collection of Sid Willis in Great Falls, where it hung until Willis sold his collection in 1945.
“This Russell oil consignment once again proves that our sale can attract the highest quality art, and that The Russell 2014 will be a huge event in the Western art world,” said Christina Blackwell, The Russell sale committee co-chair. “We’re honored to have such a historically significant piece in our live auction.”
The Russell, which is scheduled for March 20-23, 2014, will showcase works of art from nationally known Western artists and collectors. The Russell consists of six distinct events: on March 20, Silent Auction and Art Preview, featuring art and travel experiences; on March 21, Art in Action®, a quick-finish event in which artists donate 100% of the proceeds to the museum, and First Strike Friday Night, an auction featuring trending and up-and-coming artists’ work; on March 22, the signature live auction gala featuring original works by Charles M. Russell, and an educational symposium featuring the 2014 Russell Heritage Award recipient, Brian Dippie, Ph.D.; and on March 23, Last Chance Sale and Brunch for art enthusiasts to add to their collection of art.
For more information on The Russell, contact the museum at 406-727-8787 or visit www.cmrussell.org/the-russell.
The mission of the C.M. Russell Museum is to collect, preserve, research, interpret, and educate on the art and life of Charles M. Russell; the art and lives of his contemporaries; and the art of preceding and ensuing generations that depicts and focuses on the culture, life, and country of Russell’s West.