CHARLES M. RUSSELL was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1864. When Russell was 15, he traveled to Montana and ,beCame a parT of the West. During the first winter, Russell lived with an old-tlme trapper named Jake Hoover. He learned , about the land, animals, hunting, trapping, and the Indians.
Charlie Russell was a man who loved everyone. He felt close to nature and had a great fondness for animals. Russell would often work a piece of wax into a model of an animal, just to entertain the children who gathered around him.
Russell paintings show the West exactly as it was. Russell once lived with the Indians, so he painted them just as he knew they looked and dressed. Russell knew the wilderness, and pictured every detail correctly. Russell paintings are a lesson in history, because they show us what it was like in the days of the old West.
Charlie Russell was much more than an artist. Russell was also a great storyteller. He would amuse his many friends with exciting tales of the land, animals, and the Indians. Charlie Russell once said, “I have always been what is called a good mixer--I had friends when I had nothing else.” Many of his illustrations are in books so we can enjoy them just as we enjoy his paintings. "Back-Trailing On The Old Frontiers" was one of his best known publications. Russell worked as a sheepherder and as a cowboy. He was a night wrangler and knew about the way cowboys lived and worked. But during the cowboy years, Russell always painted and sketched, too. His paintings were his deepest love.
Charlie Russell was a painter who painted what he wished, and still made a living at it. Russell worked in several forms. His major paintings were in oils, but his water colors and pen-and-ink sketches and bronzes are highly prized. Much of his pen-and-ink work was done as an illustrator of books and magazines. The ten prints in this edition were carefully selected to represent the best of his historical drawings. Numbering in the thousands, Russell paintings are a legacy of the West and a permanent record of a colorful era in our history.
But Charlie Russell left us much more than his paintings and sculpture. Russell left us an example of how to live in friendship with nature and mankind.