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Label, Charles E. Cobb, Boston, Massachusetts

Scouting the Camp is recorded in the C. M. Russell Catalogue Raisonné as reference number CR.CHF.44.

According to author and Russell authority, Rick Stewart, “By the middle 1890s Russell had already achieved considerable proficiency in the art of transparent watercolor. This fine example appears to date from that period; it is painted on a good-quality watercolor paper of medium texture in colors that still remain fresh. Looking closely, one can see the artist’s graphite underdrawing, and some adjustments from the original composition can be seen alongside the mounted figure to the right. Elements in the distance including the camp to the left and the shadows and folds of the surrounding landscape are freely applied with transparent washes and light touches of the brush in a very skillful manner. Russell becomes much more focused and detailed with his brushwork in the central group of mounted Indians, supposedly a Blackfoot war party on the prowl. The mounted figure to the left, for example, has a very carefully delineated beaded or quilled war shirt, a hair pipe adornment on his chest, and a closely-painted tack-studded quirt hanging from his outstretched arm. During this period Russell was working hard to master the reflections of light, color, and forms in water; this particular watercolor is notable for that, and for the preponderance of water in the whole composition as a way of suggesting recession.”

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