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Wild Horses is recorded in the C. M. Russell Catalogue Raisonné as reference number CR.NE.384.

According to Rick Stewart, author and Russell historian, “This large and beautifully-rendered watercolor depicting mounted Indians pursuing wild horses was done at a time when the artist was exploring a variety of historical subjects in his work. Russell certainly knew the work of his predecessor George Catlin, who actually witnessed Indians chasing, capturing, and breaking wild horses on the open plains. Catlin served as an important source to Russell for such subjects, since it is doubtful that Russell would have seen this type of thing firsthand. But the Montana artist’s absolute mastery of equine anatomy in this vivid scene is all his own; it would not be hard to substitute open-range cowboys for the Indians seen in this watercolor. In Russell’s own day the freedom of the wild horse was under siege. In a letter written to a friend he deplored the efforts being made to exterminate them on the open rangelands. ‘They say the horse eats [too much] grass and draws flies. . . maybe when they kill off all the horses the flies will come to town. . . . I don’t think they say all these things about a horse but they want to sell his meat. I think the horse is the cleanest animal on earth.’”

PROVENANCE
Private Collection, Vancouver, BC circa 1954
Present owner, by descent

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