Since 1969, the Great Falls Ad Club's annual Russell Auction has raised about $5.6 million for the C.M. Russell Museum, founded in honor of the great Western painter, in Montana. A controversial split with the Ad Club was orchestrated recently in an attempt to raise more funds with an auction managed solely by the museum.
Now, a pair of dueling auctions is just weeks away. The Russell Museum hopes to sell enough tickets to their March 18-20 auction and related events, as well as 155 lots, to help bolster coffers depleted by declining attendance numbers. Named "The Russell," the museum's benefit auction will include works by such Western masters as Sydney Laurence, Edward Borein, and J.H. Sharp as well as contemporary artists.
The Ad Club's Russell Auction also includes various events, held the same dates as "The Russell," with about 261 lots for sale such as a Carl Runguis etching, a Mount Ranier scene by Eliza Barchus and Robert Scriver's wildlife bronzes.