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Label, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA (incorrectly dated 1911)

Man Hunting Antelope will be included in the C. M. Russell Catalogue Raisonné.

According to Russell biographer Dr. Larry Len Peterson, “Much like the bison being called a buffalo, the pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) was misnamed as an antelope. Theodore Roosevelt was dazzled by this unique animal and described it as standing, ‘... apart from all other horned animals. Its place in the natural world is almost as lonely as that of the giraffe.’

“The pronghorn is the fleetest of American mammals and was designed for speeds that can reach almost sixty miles per hour over short distances of two to three miles. Weighing 100 to 125 pounds, the male pronghorn stands thirty-two to forty inches at the shoulders. While their hearing and smell are outstanding, they are known most for their vision that on the plains can detect movement three to four miles in the distance. Populations of the pronghorn probably rivaled the bison, and some have estimated that in the early nineteenth century they numbered 40 million. They were found from the Canadian plains to northern Mexico and as far east as the Missouri River. Their bands were much smaller than bison, ranging around twenty to thirty.

“Many hunters noted their peculiar ways. Theodore Roosevelt commented in his 1885 Hunting Trips of a Ranchman that the animals, ‘Often go through a series of regular evolutions, like so many trained horsemen, wheeling, turning, halting, and running as if under command...’ They were also noted to be inquisitive which often led to their demise. By the end of the nineteenth century, their herds had been greatly reduced, even though they were one of the hardest to bring down. Roosevelt wrote that it took twice as many cartridges to bring a pronghorn down than a deer, and wrote in his 1889 The Wilderness Hunter, ‘In no other kind of hunting is there so much long-distance shooting, or so many shots fired for every head of game bagged.’

“As Charles M. Russell travelled from Great Falls, Montana to the Little Bighorn Battlefield in southeastern Montana in 1902, he was fascinated as he viewed the prairies of central and eastern Montana teeming with pronghorns. Those memories would later be translated into several paintings: Man Hunting Antelope (1902); three illustrations included in Dr. William A. Allen’s book, Adventures with Indians and Game, or Twenty Years in the Rocky Mountains (1903); and an extra-illustrated children’s adventure book, Frank on the Prairie (1893) presented to his nephew Austin Russell in 1903—painted on page 36 is an untitled Russell original watercolor of a pronghorn (one of eleven original hand-illustrated).”

The John J. “Jack” Mitchell Collection
Present owners, by descent

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