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Buffalo Hunt #27 is recorded in the C. M. Russell Catalogue Raisonné as reference number CR.UNL.87

A copy of a November 9, 1981 letter of authenticity by Frederic G. Renner will accompany the lot.

According to Rick Stewart, author of the forthcoming landmark publication Charles M. Russell: Watercolors, 1887–1926, to be published by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in fall 2014, “For Russell, the Indian buffalo hunt exemplified the glory of nomadic Plains Indian life before the arrival of the white man, and it was among the subjects most often repeated in his work. The scene depicted in this superb watercolor evokes what Russell believed to be the golden age of the Blackfeet people. A group of them are shown hunting buffalo in the Judith Basin of north central Montana, with the Highwood Mountains in the background. This rich area, where the young Russell later gained experience as a cowboy in the open range cattle industry, was a favorite hunting ground of the Blackfeet. George Bird Grinnell, writing in the early 1890s, described them as a formidable people, whose acquisition of the horse enabled them to greatly expand their territory. By the time of Lewis and Clark their hunting grounds stretched from the Saskatchewan River in Canada to the Yellowstone River far to the south, and from the Rocky Mountains eastward to the badlands of the Dakotas. In this watercolor, Russell has concentrated his attention on the hunter mounted on a white horse, who has moved within bow range of a fleeing buffalo cow. The rider is about to release his arrow downward into the ideal spot: just behind its ribs, deep into its vital organs. The rider’s horse will then peel away, leaving the wounded animal to slowly expire. By 1900 Russell was an undisputed master of the watercolor medium, and this example shows a broad range of technique and the application of color, from the loose brushwork and transparent washes of the landscape elements in the foreground to the more tightly-controlled strokes and layers that painstakingly define the central group comprising the Indian hunter, buffalo bull, and two buffalo cows.”

PROVENANCE:
The Artist
The Bernstein Family, Cleveland, Ohio, circa 1901
Present owner, by descent

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