The Russell: Famous paintings consigned to auction

Works by Russell, Moran and Sharp among The Russell offerings, on exhibit Feb. 22

Art Beat

When The Russell Exhibition opens Feb. 21, the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls once again becomes a showplace for exceptional historical and contemporary western art, destined for auctions March 21-22.

Meadowlark Country Club hosts Art in Action, a brunch, quick draw and auction, with all proceeds donated to the museum.
Meadowlark Country Club hosts Art in Action, a brunch, quick draw and auction, with all proceeds donated to the museum.Photo © C.M. Russell Museum

But it’s much more than that, according to museum Executive Director Tom Figarelle. “The Russell is the bartering of good ideas and the exchange of even better stories. It’s the dividend of a deep laugh and the currency of our shared values,” he writes. “It’s the combination of great art with better friends who remind us of why the West compels us so deeply and why we’re moved by her vast beauty and her eternal spirit.”

Among the masterpieces featured in this year’s live auction on March 21: “Call of the War Chief” by Joseph Henry Sharp; “Green River in Wyoming” by Thomas Moran; and “Following the Buffalo Run” by Charles M. Russell.

Other important watercolors, drawings, paintings and sculptures by the museum namesake and others are part of an impressive list of works on display Feb. 20-March 22 at the museum, culminating in The Russell: An Exhibition and Sale to Benefit the C.M. Russell Museum, March 19-21.

The signature fundraising event for the nonprofit museum includes the Art Preview Party, 5-7 p.m. Thursday at the museum; Art in Action, a brunch, quick draw and auction, with all proceeds donated to the museum, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday at Meadowlark Country Club, followed by the First Strike Auction, 6 p.m. at the Mansfield Convention Center.

Saturday brings a free Educational Symposium, 9 a.m. at the Mansfield Center. This year, Montana poets weigh in on the topic “Myth Is the Mother of Romance.” Check out wearable art of the American West during The Runway Show, noon at the Meadowlark Country Club, and The Russell Live Auction commences at 5 p.m. Saturday evening at the Mansfield Center.

The complete auction catalogue is now available online. For details, call 406-727-8787 or visit www.cmrussell.org.

The Russell is the centerpiece for Western Art Week, a cornucopia of art shows, auctions and special events that coincides with the birthday of famed western artist Charlie Russell. From March 18-22, the Electric City hosts more than 15 shows and 800 artists, who showcase art ranging from traditional paintings and sculpture to more contemporary works. Events include live music, quick draws, auctions, social get-togethers, and educational symposiums.

Check visit greatfallsmontana.org/event/western-art-week for an updated schedule.