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Label, Whitney Gallery of Art
Label, Trigg C. M. Russell Foundation

The Battle Between the Blackfeet and Piegans is recorded in the C. M. Russell Catalogue Raisonné as reference number CR.BBH.6.

According to Rick Stewart, author and Russell historian, “Russell was keenly interested in the life and culture of the Northern Plains Indians, and during his life he gathered many stories and narratives concerning intertribal warfare. A running battle between rival war parties was among his favorite subjects, for he could show men and horse at the height of desperate, wild action. Although the title of this vivid watercolor claims that it depicts a battle between Blackfeet and Piegans, it is not likely the tribe would be fighting among themselves. Russell probably shows the Piegans—the southernmost branch of the Blackfeet—fighting one of their traditional enemies, such as the Assiniboine, Cree, or Sioux. A close examination of the costume and accessories would probably help identify the protagonists. It looks as though a large war party has pursued and caught up with a smaller group, perhaps a raiding or hunting party. This work was done at the height of Russell’s power as a transparent watercolor painter. The colors are skillfully layered to suggest the flash and glow of light, and the quick, fluid brushstrokes contribute to a sense of immediacy, vibrancy, and movement. In this superb watercolor, Russell sought to convey the adventure and danger of Indian life on the northern plains, before the arrival of the white man altered it forever.”

Private Collection, 1985
Property from a Private Collection

Centennial Year 1864-1964, C. M. Russell Gallery, Great Falls, Montana; traveling to Hammer Galleries, New York, Summer, 1964
Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Cody, Wyoming, on extended loan 1968-1970

Antiques, Vol. 80, No. 6 (December 1961), page 510, illustrated
Exhibition Catalog, Centennial Year 1864-1964 (Great Falls, MT: C. M. Russell Gallery, 1964), page 11, illustrated
Exhibition Catalog, Centennial Year 1864-1964 (New York, NY: Hammer Galleries, 1964), page 40, illustrated

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