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VERSO
Dated

Northern Plains Indian will be included in the C. M. Russell Catalogue Raisonné.

Several letters pertaining to this painting, including a 1993 Letter of Authentication written by Thomas C. Brayshaw, will accompany the lot.

Russell historian Frederic Renner wrote, “Accounts of Russell’s early life in Montana invariably tell about his stay with a tribe of Blood Indians in Canada. Actually, this trip was more or less an accident. Charlie spent the winter of 1887-1888 in Helena, where he and several other cowboys batched in a small cabin. During this time Charlie became staunch friends with Phil Weinard, whom he had met the previous summer. Weinard was a man of many parts, having been a ‘hand’ on the river boats, a bull whacker, a cowboy, a ‘wolfer,’ and during that winter and the following spring, a vaudeville actor at the Coliseum Theater in Helena. The theater was operated by a Mrs. Hensley...whose attractive niece Weinard secretly married. Expecting opposition, Weinard sent his bride east by train while he and Charlie made plans to pull out for Canada.”

“The two men left Helena May 16, 1888, by horseback, taking with them one of Charlie’s friends, a faro-dealing cowboy called ‘Long Green’ Stillwell. After the trio reached their destination, Weinard made arrangements for Charlie and Long Green to live in an unused cabin before he went to work as foreman of Walter Skrines’s Bar S ranch. Charlie and Long Green spent the summer loafing and visiting their numerous friends in the vicinity of High River. As they had no desire to spend the winter in Canada, when the first snow fell in September they headed back to Montana. Crossing the Blood Reserve they met a band of Indians and stopped for a visit. Black Eagle, the chief of the tribe, was an old friend and Charlie decided to spend the winter in the ‘lodge of his red brothers.’ Long Green apparently continued on south, while Charlie remained with the Indians until the following March. When the Benton trail opened up he joined a south-bound freight outfit and got back to the Judith Basin in time for the spring roundup.

“There is no doubt that the stay with the Blood Indians, unplanned though it was, gave Charlie the opportunity to acquire a vast store of firsthand knowledge about Indian life. The results of this six-months stay with the Bloods were to appear time and again in his future paintings.”

During his career “Russell did one or more paintings of a single Indian from every tribe with which he came in contact. These included the Arapaho, Assiniboine, Blackfoot, Blood, Cheyenne, Cree, Crow, Flathead, Kootenai, Nez Perce, Pawnee, Piegan, and Sioux; there are more than thirty such paintings of these various Indians.”

PROVENANCE
The Artist, gifted to
William W. White, MT 1890s
Present owner, by descent

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