In Great Falls, MT, recently, The Russell event set an all-time record for sales with a gross total of $7.8 million—better than the previous record of $6.9 million, set last year. One of the highlights was the Live Auction, which was held at the Mansfield Convention Center in downtown Great Falls. Auction sales totaled $6,574,000 (including buyers’ premium), which again beat last year’s record of $5,440,000.
A total of 157 lots were featured in the auction, including nine major pieces by Charles M. Russell. The top lot was Russell’s oil painting FOR SUPREMACY (1895), which sold for $1,500,000, the highest price ever paid at The Russell’s Live Auction. The second-highest seller was another Russell oil, SCOUTING PARTY (1900), which sold for $950,000. The artist’s bronze MEDICINE WHIP sold for $400,000, and his watercolor AN INDIAN WAR PARTY (1902) sold for $275,000. Another notable sale was a casting of the famous bronze sculpture THE END OF THE TRAIL (1918) by James Earle Fraser, which sold for $300,000.
Another highlight of the weekend was the First Strike live auction, which featured 117 lots by living artists and drew more than 800 guests. Total sales came in at $397,000 (including buyers’ premium). The evening’s top lot was the oil painting CHIEF JOSEPH AND THE NEZ PERCE CAMPED ON THE BIG HOLE RIVER by Randy Van Beek, who is a member of the C.M. Russell Museum’s Russell Skull Society of Artists. The painting went for $14,000.
Finally, the Art in Action quick-finish event brought in $181,500. The highest price of the day was for artist Michael Blessing’s oil COWBOY BAR, which sold for $17,500. All proceeds from the Art in Action sale were donated to the C.M. Russell Museum.