Charles M. Russell : the life and legend of America's cowboy artist

by Taliaferro, John, 1952-

Format: Print Book 2003
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction N6537.R88 T36 2003
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  N6537.R88 T36 2003

This first comprehensive biography of Charles M. Russell examines the colorful life and times of Montana's famed Cowboy Artist. Born to an affluent St. Louis family in 1864, young Russell read thrilling tales of the West and filled sketchbooks with imagined frontier scenes. At sixteen he left home and headed west to become a cowboy. In Montana Territory he consorted with cowpunchers, Indians, preachers, saloon keepers, and prostitutes, while celebrating the waning American frontier's glory days in some 4,000 paintings, watercolors, drawings, and sculptures. Before his death in 1926, Russell saw the world change dramatically, and the West he loved passed into legend. By then he was revered as one of the country's ranking Western artist with works displayed in the finest galleries, his romantic vision of the Old West forever shaping our own.

Taliaferro reveals the man behind the myth in his multifaceted complexity: extraordinarily gifted, self-effacing, charming, mischievous, and playful, a friend to rough frontier denizens and Hollywood stars alike. The author also explores Russell's controversial partnership with his fiery young wife, Nancy, whose ambition and business savvy helped establish Russell as one of America's most popular artists.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "When he left St. Louis to rusticate in Montana in 1880, Russell was only 16 years old and entranced by a West whose archetypes were then jelling into the stereotypes familiar to us today. With a gregarious sense of adventure and budding artistic talent, he stayed there for a lifetime, which, surprisingly enough, is here first given the cradle-to-grave treatment. A debut author, Taliaferro writes like a veteran, going beyond chronicle to plumb his subject's inner, emotional life, embedded in the atmosphere of his times. Montana in the 1880s, though no longer a frontier, was plenty wild, and Taliaferro engagingly relates Russell's ventures to experience the figures in his imagination: cowboys and Indians, buffalo and bears. An easy maker of friends (with the cowboys), he met them, camped and drank with them, and put them down first as doodles, eventually as paintings. A better boon companion than savvy art marketeer, Russell didn't taste success until his marriage to a possessive woman his chums resentfully called the "little robber," but Nancy gave Charlie the necessary push out of the saloons and into the galleries. Whatever Russell's status in art history--detractors debunk his work for sentimentalism; enthusiasts value its evocative panoramas--his companionable character is seamlessly restored by Taliaferro. --Gilbert Taylor"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Charlie Russell, whose art combined documentation and romance, played a large part in establishing cowboy culture. Son of one of the leading families in St. Louis, he had dime-novel fantasies about the West. In 1880, aged 16, Russell left home for Montana Territory to be a cowboy. For the next 15 years, he led a devil-may-care existence as a wrangler, drinking heavily, womanizing, pleading for credit. Journalist Taliaferro brings the artist and the frontier to life in this sparkling biography. By 1887, Russell had gained local recognition for his art but was reluctant to push his career. All changed when he married a fiery young woman half his age in 1896. Wife Nancy became his promoter and business agent, arranging exhibitions and sales nationwide. By all accounts, Russell was a charmer; much of his success as a painter, says the author, must be attributed to his appealing personality. He died in 1926. This is an important book for Western buffs. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Russell, Charles M. -- (Charles Marion), -- 1864-1926.
Artists -- United States -- Biography.
Publisher Norman, OK :University of Oklahoma Press,2003
Edition Red River Books ed.
Language English
Notes Originally published: Boston : Little, Brown, c1996.
Description xi, 318 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [272]-305)and index.
ISBN 080613495X
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