Auction Preview | The Russell

Great Falls, MT
Various locations, March 16-18

Gerard Curtis Delano, The Victors, oil, 21 x 39. Estimate: $375,000-$475,000.

Gerard Curtis Delano, The Victors, oil, 21 x 39. Estimate: $375,000-$475,000.

This story was featured in the February 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  February 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Each March, western art lovers head to Great Falls, MT, for a long weekend of art auctions and parties presented by the C.M. Russell Museum. The Russell, the museum’s annual fundraising event, comprises a monthlong art exhibition and a closing weekend full of auctions and other activities. “The Russell is almost beyond description, and we here at the museum feel that if we can get folks to join us once, they’ll come back year after year,” says Duane Braaten, the museum’s senior art coordinator. “It truly is an event not to be missed.”

While the big events happen in March, the artwork for the two main auctions is on display at the museum from Friday, February 17, until The Russell events get underway with the opening of the Mansfield Convention Center. The site of the auctions, the center opens at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 16, with artwork displays or “suites” from the 22 Russell Skull Society members, including Todd Connor, Chad Poppleton, Charles Fritz, and Carol Hagan. The museum established the Russell Skull Society in 2013, inviting top western artists who continue to produce artwork in the tradition of C.M. Russell.

On Thursday evening the museum hosts a preview party with many participating artists in attendance. Friday morning brings a Quick Finish at the Meadow Lark Country Club beginning at 10 a.m. “After the demonstration concludes, the works are sold in an auction right then and there,” Braaten explains.

On Friday night, the First Strike auction, billed as the more casual and exciting of the two auctions, begins at 6 p.m. Participating artists include returning favorites Jill Soukup, Greg Scheibel, and Shawn Cameron as well as first-time participants Jason Drake and Blake Neubert.

Saturday begins with the Russell Educational Symposium, which, this year, takes a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Montana PBS documentary C.M. Russell and the American West.

At 4 p.m. on Friday, the gala evening gets underway with a 4:30 p.m. dinner. At 6 p.m. the live auction begins with 150 artworks from contemporary artists and Russell Skull Society members as well as a significant selection of historic, consigned pieces. This includes several C.M. Russell originals, such as FOLLOWING THE BUFFALO RUN, which is anticipated to sell for between $1.25 and $1.75 million.

Russell Skull Society artist Chad Poppleton says, “This is my favorite show—period. I’m a cowboy, and this show really speaks to my heart. It’s a great place to celebrate the West and the Russell legacy.” In his painting THE SPIRIT OF THE WEST, Poppleton pays tribute to Russell. The painting depicts three buffalo in the western landscape. “I chose the buffalo because they were near extinction [in the past] but, through foresight and thoughtful conservation, have made a strong and healthy comeback. It’s an ode to the strength of the western spirit.”

“I have always really liked The Russell,” participating artist Greg Scheibel says. Before he started painting professionally, he would attend as a collector and aspiring artist. He brings two paintings of subject matter close to his heart as a fly-fisherman: SUMMER CASCADE and RUNNING CLEAR. In closing, Scheibel adds, “I am also a member of the museum. There’s a lot of great history and art there, and it’s worthwhile to visit. This is their biggest fundraiser of the year, so it’s supporting a good cause, too.” —Laura Rintala

contact information
406.727.8787
www.cmrussell.org

This story was featured in the February 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  February 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

MORE RESOURCES FOR ART COLLECTORS & ENTHUSIASTS
Subscribe to Southwest Art magazine
Learn how to paint & how to draw with downloads, books, videos & more from North Light Shop
Sign up for your Southwest Art email newsletter & download a FREE ebook

COMMENT