The House that Charlie Built:Perceptions of Architecture in Charles M. Russell
By Hipólito Rafael Chacón
When considering Charlie Russell’s relationship to architecture, two primary categories emerge that reveal much about the man and his artistic vision. First, there were the physical spaces that shaped him, particularly in his formative years, the places and buildings he inhabited and created over the course of his lifetime. An analysis of this category is a discussion as much about the places he rejected as about those he embraced.
A second category pertains to the spaces he constructed in his works of art and how he realized them. Whether real or fictional, the places we recognize in his paintings and drawings were more constructions than locations. Perhaps “constructs” is a better term, as they not only represent the compositional strategies he employed and the spatial relationships he created in his art but also reveal the social worlds he constructed, as much intellectually as pictorially.
Studying both of these categories, real places and pictured spaces, says a lot about how Charlie Russell perceived the physical environment and the architecture of the world around him. An honest assessment acknowledges that the two categories of actual and painterly places were not distinct and exclusive but rather intertwined throughout his life and work. They seamlessly reinforced and influenced each other.
One might be tempted to dismiss architecture as a category that held no interest for Russell. Indeed, a general survey of his art reveals a predilection for “natural” places and the out-of-doors and far fewer references to brick-and-mortar buildings and towns. Still, the evidence from that survey across the arc of his long and prodigious career reveals an artist with a unique perspective on architecture as both physical and social space.
Certainly, we find images of the corrals and makeshift structures at Montana round-ups and sheepherding camps and the exterior of log cabins with their characteristic horse hitches out front as settings for some cowboy conversation; the occasional façade of a western bank, brothel, jail, or saloon as the backdrop of a dusty ruckus; and a tent or tipi at the edge of some complex transaction such as storytelling, playing cards, or bartering for a bride. Sometimes Russell located his scenes around a campfire or within the dark interiors of such structures.
Typically, what the viewer experiences in a Russell is space—vast and open views with plenty of room for human and beast to roam. Even the most intimate scenes take place surrounded by ample space, as if the artist could not suffer being contained by the familiar parameters of walls, floors, and ceilings. In his embrace of the wild and open view and the land in the process of “taming” by cowboy and rancher, Russell demonstrated his first rejection, a denial of the fabricated or urban space of the modern world. This absence of what we understand as modern architecture and urbanism reaffirms what all scholars and fans of the artist know to be true: that Charlie Russell loved the West and the out-of-doors.
Russell built a life and career on that rejection. Perhaps more importantly, he crafted the myth about his identity on the denial of his upper-class, cultivated roots and the embrace of intentional rusticity, what critic Harold Rosenberg later called American “coonskinism.” [I]Harold Rosenberg, The Tradition of the New (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965), 13–22. It is not the case that Russell did not appreciate beautiful and refined places. In fact, he and Nancy were not averse to staying in the best hotels from Saint Louis to Paris, especially when his work was selling or when it was advantageous to hobnob with potential patrons. It was simply that Charlie demonstrated more than mere affection for the out-of-doors, including the rustic camp, the gritty frontier bar, and the Indian village. He favored them over the polished school buildings, stodgy churches, fussy mansions, and genteel urban parks of his privileged childhood. There is such a paucity of polite urban spaces in his art that one might think he never visited, let alone inhabited, those “civilized” places.
When reminiscing about his friendship with fellow night-wrangler Pete Van, Russell stated, “Our home was where we spread our blankets. . . . Often the Roof leaked making it wet cold and lonesome, but its discomforts that pans out the good and bad in man.” [II]Cited in John Taliaferro, Charles M. Russell, The Life and Legend of America’s Cowboy Artist (Boston: Little, Brown, 1996), 135n43.
In a thoroughly counterintuitive and perhaps even countercultural move, Russell transformed the discomforts, hardships, and indignities of living out-of-doors or in the most rustic places into assets. Roughing it under the big sky was romantic and he displayed it triumphantly in his paintings and drawings to urban audiences everywhere.
The idea led to successful compositional strategies and spatial constructions in his art. His signature representations often contained a lone figure, typically on horseback, or a central group, human or animal or, often, both, surrounded by the great plains and the vast expanse of sky. Every now and then, we look down on some scene, almost as if we have just crested a bluff or hill and chanced on some dramatic scene.[III]See the watercolor of Hope Hathaway in Dragged the Heavy Body up towards the Shelter of Rocks, 1904, in Larry Len Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy (Helena: Falcon, 1999), 175.
This was the architecture that Russell preferred and mastered. Whether his figures were Natives or cowboys or a herd of massing bison or stampeding horses, whether the scene was quiet and contemplative or rife with vigorous activity, one element persisted. [IV]Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy, illustrates many examples: 25, 59, 67, 93, 137, 145, 179, 182, 254, 270, 280, 389.
Russell was always true to the solidity of the firmament and the clarity of the sky. The play of light and color that became almost operatic in his mature work only added to the allure of his scenes. The accidental details of sage, grasses, and desiccated bones, elements that added to the authenticity of place in his art, were merely props in dramas whose grandeur was established by the architecture of the land itself. The landscape was second only to the heroic actions and foibles of his actors in the ability to carry a story.
Perhaps no painting better summarizes Russell’s sense of space than the famous Charles M. Russell and His Friends (Fig. 1), a grand work painted for the wall above Malcolm Mackay’s fireplace in his New Jersey residence. [V]Vivian A. Paladin, CM Russell: The Mackay Collection (Helena: Montana Historical Society and the Mackay Family, 1979), 7.
Charlie depicted himself sitting on his horse alone on a small grassy rise to the left of center. With a sweeping gesture, he invites the viewer to greet a band of ruffians, his beloved cowboy and Indian friends, whom he shows charging at the viewer, straight up the hill into the middle foreground in a cloud of dust. But Russell’s open-palmed gesture is more meaningful than that. He would also have us gaze upon an awe-inspiring view of the gullies and river bottoms, towering buttes, and majestic skies of the country surrounding Great Falls, a dramatic subject in its own right and one he would repeatedly depict. This work is a culmination of Russell’s sense of architecture as an epic balance of both landscape and social space.
Russell occasionally depicted interior spaces, but in comparison to his images of the out-of-doors and Montana’s big sky, these renderings are simply confining. There are those charming letters with caricatures of his slovenly bachelor days, living in a ramshackle cabin, contrasted with images of his newly domesticated self in the tidy, if modest, “honeymoon cabin” he and Nancy shared as a young couple (Fig. 2). [VI]“As I Was/As I Am Now, Letter to William H. Rance, et al.,” 1896, and “Mosquito Season in Cascade, Letter to Lela V. Roberts,” 1897, in Brian W. Dippie, ed., Charles M. Russell, Word Painter: … Continue reading He and Nancy filled the latter with the typical bric-a-brac of domestic interiors on the range. One wonders if Russell couldn’t wait to literally burst out of the physical constraints of his new marital state.
He drew the interior of a log hall as the backdrop for an awkward courtship scene at a wintertime gathering in the publication Rhymes from a Round-Up Camp from 1899 (Fig. 3). [VII]Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy, 72.The space is strikingly barren. Later, he drew sketches of notorious shootouts inside western saloons that are curiously stripped of any interior detail. [VIII]“Panhandle Jack/Pat Rily, Letter to Harry Duckett,” July 1901, in Kellie Keto, Charles M. Russell: The Artist in His Heyday, 1903–1926 (Santa Fe: Peters, 1995), 156–57. The cartoons were, after all, about the hero or villain in action rather than the rooms they inhabited.
It is worth noting that the interiors Russell cared to describe with any degree of intimacy or accurate detail were not the rooms of his white counterparts, but rather spaces associated with the Indians he so admired. In works such as Waiting and Mad (Fig. 4), which includes Keeoma, a figure he painted in a few versions between 1896 and 1899, Russell did not so much articulate the interior architecture of a Plains Indian tipi as he presented a shallow space for a Native woman to lounge before a painted-hide backdrop surrounded by her accoutrements: a pipe, a bowl and spoon, a drum, a bear fur, and colorful rugs. [IX]Dippie, Charles M. Russell, Word Painter, 26. This became a favorite, if formulaic, scene for him. The romantic setting varied little, even when the characters and situations changed.[X]For example, the couple in the watercolor drawing titled Beauty Parlor, 1897, in Mary Beth Ewen, Fifty Years, Fifty Favorites from the C.M. Russell Museum (Great Falls: C.M. Russell Museum, 2003), … Continue reading
How striking, therefore, is the painting of the interior of a Mandan earth lodge in York (Fig. 5), a scene from the Lewis and Clark Expedition that Russell painted in 1908. [XI]Elizabeth A. Dear, The Grand Expedition of Lewis & Clark (Great Falls: C.M. Russell Museum, 1998), 14.
Rich in human interest and almost anthropological detail, this watercolor shows the explorers at Fort Mandan in March 1805. Russell recreated a cavernous, smoke-filled room with scores of people gathered around to inspect the conspicuous black skin of William Clark’s servant. The people gather in a semicircle that echoes the rough circularity of the timbered room. The details are curious when compared to the dance hall scene noted above, in which he includes only such spare furnishings as a simple bench in the foreground and a lantern hanging on the wall.
In 1900 Russell drew a striking pen-and-ink piece that he titled Mothers under the Skin (Fig. 6). [XII]Ewen, Fifty Years, Fifty Favorites, 78–79. He depicted a Cree woman walking down a sidewalk carrying her child and followed by a scruffy dog. Across the manicured lawn of a middle- to upper-class household sits a white woman comfortably reading the newspaper with her child in a swing, her well-fed pug barking at the interlopers on the sidewalk. In this drawing, Russell drew a clear contrast between the comfortable trappings of white “civilization” at the turn of the century and the apparent nomadism and freedom of native culture.
Everything in this image is symbolic and invites comparison. The women, their babies and dogs, and their respective settings are representative of close but separate societies. While the white woman sits in front of the carefully delineated architectural space of her Queen Anne–style front porch, the Indian woman enters the scene as if from a formless void, literally from empty space. The drawing is a strange reversal for Russell, who most certainly favored depicting the Natives’ world over the propriety and confinement of a Gilded Age American home. The viewer is forced to stand in the space between, presented with a choice between two opposing worlds.
Russell made it clear through a myriad of drawings, sketches, and paintings that he preferred the freedom and unbounded space that he identified with Montana’s indigenous peoples and the quickly receding ways of the cowboy and wrangler. In his spatial constructions and uses of architecture in his life’s work, Russell emphatically hearkened back to the favorite haunts of his youth.
Confining buildings and their interior spaces were marginal in his pictures. Another of his favorite compositional strategies was to place the subject outside a structure, typically a log cabin or tipi. Often, he employed a strong diagonal, springing from either the lower left or right, to direct the viewer to the main event. We follow the characters along this line into the composition, and sometimes the figures appear to tumble toward us. By placing the action in the middle foreground with a building or structure to the side and back, as if in a staged drama, he implicated the viewer as a participant in whatever scene was unfolding.
In a letter to William McDonough from around 1899, for example, he drew a cartoon of a bucking bronco causing mayhem on the street outside a bank or saloon.[XIII]“Friend Bill, Letter to William R. McDonough,” April 26, circa 1899, in Dippie, Charles M. Russell, Word Painter, 41. The action always takes place literally out-of-doors. See also the images of … Continue readingThe building is a mere backdrop, while the chaotic action is rich in hilarious vignettes that seem to surround the viewer. There was little innovative about this classical compositional strategy, but Russell used it to great effect and won over many a fan with it.
The cabins he depicted in these scenes were, more often than not, low-ceilinged log buildings with only one or two rooms. They evoked the cabins of his prodigal youth: Jake Hoover’s rustic home in the Pig Eye Basin on the Judith River, the cramped, windowless, sometimes sod-roofed cabins of the winter cow camps where he worked in the late 1880s, Ben Robert’s shack in Cascade where he had his first studio, and the “drafty, lice-infected” cabin in Chinook where the “Hungry 7” spent the winter of 1892–93.[XIV]Taliaferro, Charles M. Russell, The Life and Legend, 40, 64, and 85.
Russell repeated this leitmotif in the cozy Christmas scenes he gifted to his friends and loved ones for the holiday season over many years. His cabins look particularly inviting at the end of a winter day with the warm glow of a fire visible through a window or open door, icicles hanging from the eaves, an elk rack over the doorway, and smoke from the chimney rising above an austere, snow-covered landscape (Fig. 8). At the door of the cabin, we are likely to encounter a hunter returning with his kill, guests arriving by foot or on horseback for Christmas Eve dinner, and even the unexpected Santa Claus sitting in his reindeer sled or the magi and their entourage bearing gifts.[XV]See the Christmas greetings to the Triggs and John F. Hagenson in Dippie, Charles M. Russell, Word Painter, 149, 150, 230; the pen and ink sketch The Christmas Dinner in Peterson, Charles M. Russell … Continue reading
The Log Studio
It is fitting that in 1903, when Russell had the means to build himself a proper studio adjacent to the house on Thirteenth Street and Fourth Avenue in Great Falls, he built the kind of log cabin that filled his memories, a building he had been drawing and painting since he was a young wrangler (Fig. 8). According to Nancy in her introduction to Good Medicine, “After the cottage home was finished and furnished, Charlie said, ‘I want a log studio some day, just like I used to live in.” Nancy also described Charlie’s stress over the social tension that building a log cabin in a refined neighborhood might provoke:
One day, a neighbor said, “What are you doing at your place, Russell, building a corral?” That settled it. Charlie just thought the neighbors didn’t want the cabin mixed in with the civilized dwellings and felt sure they would get a petition to prevent our building anything so unsightly as a log house in their midst. But way down in his heart, he wanted that studio. It was the right kind of work-shop for him, but he was worried at what he thought the neighbors would say.[XVI]Nancy Cooper Russell, introduction to Good Medicine, cited in Taliaferro, Charles M. Russell, The Life and Legend, 131n32. There is no way of knowing if Russell was indeed hesitant about his choice to build a rustic cabin in that domesticated setting or if Nancy was simply projecting her own fears of social ostracism. What is true is that in the end the neighbors wound up embracing the structure, and it became the neighborhood landmark it is today. Russell made it the center of his creative and social life in town. Nancy recounted Charlie saying to their friend Albert Trigg, “That’s going to be a good shack for me. The bunch can come visit, talk, and smoke, while I paint.”
And that is precisely what played out in the space over the course of the next quarter-century. To Charlie “the shack” was not just a “trip down memory lane,” a comfortable and homey place for him to work and entertain, and a virtual museum in which he gathered his large collection of Native American artifacts, curios, and collectibles: it became part of the legend of the cowboy artist and central to his intentional self-mythification.
The structure he built on the lot next to his Great Falls home was a recreation of the archetype he had drawn and painted many times before: a one-room building with a stone chimney at one end, a low-slung roof, and a narrow porch running down its length covered with deer and antler racks—a dream come true, perhaps, but still a prop in the overall composition of his life. [XVIII]The original cabin was much lower than what we see today. In 1912 Russell had the walls raised four logs so as to accommodate his grand Lewis and Clark Meeting the Indians at Ross’ Hole, the … Continue reading Russell used the cabin to add to his reputation as the affable rustic in the midst of civilization (Fig. 8). The many publicity photographs of him and his friends “shootin’ the breeze” or roping out in front of the shack look suspiciously composed like one of his own paintings and drawings. Hand-tinted postcards of him sitting on his “cow pony” in front of the cabin were staged in imitation of his painterly compositions. [XIX]Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy, 129–31. In a postcard (Fig. 8) from 1909 reproduced by Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy, 130, Russell sits on his horse to the left and the cabin forms the … Continue reading Russell was not above using the log cabin as the perfect set for public relations efforts.
This, however, was not the marginal housing of his wrangling days. It was a place of comfort right next door to his home. To build a proper painter’s studio with suitable light, he enhanced the cabin with skylights. Photographs of the interior portray a comfortable place with the same warmth and homeyness one sees in his painted scenes of tipi interiors. Russell had created his ideal, nostalgic, and romantic workspace, and a practical and comfortable one at that.
The Glacier Cabin
In 1915 Charlie Russell wrote his drinking buddy Berners B. Kelly:
“Lake McDonald is the best ground in the world and my lodge is open and the pipe lit for you and yours. You know that lake country sings the cradle song to all who lay in her lap.”[XX]Cited in Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy, 187n1. While it might sound hyperbolic, no place meant more to him than the Bull Head Lodge on Lake McDonald (Fig. 9). It is safe to say that he was happiest at the log cabin in the woods by the lake where he and Nancy summered for over two decades. The time they spent in glacier country during the first quarter of the twentieth century was arguably his most productive period. The place afforded him the balance between solitude and socializing, work and play, that he needed so badly. Nancy, as with so many of the places they inhabited, used the setting for the continual promotion of her husband’s work and social standing.
In 1904 the Russells took their first vacation in the “crown of the continent.” A year later, they bought a lot from Dimon Apgar at the southern end of Lake McDonald, some two hundred miles and a day’s ride west of Great Falls. They began their summer holidays by riding north to Shelby near the Canadian border and then heading due west toward the Continental Divide on the Great Northern line. The railway had opened up this country in 1891 and was largely responsible for promoting the area for tourism and recreation. Their destination was Belton, the small train stop and settlement at the western edge of Glacier. From there, they crossed the Middle Fork of the Flathead River and rode on horseback or by wagon across another fifteen miles through deep woods until they had arrived at Apgar village on the edge of the lake.
The lot they purchased, a quarter of a mile from the village, was remote but stunning, with its spectacular views of the long and narrow body of water surrounded by the thick alpine forests and craggy glaciated peaks that characterized glacier country. In May 1910 the federal government designated the surrounding land for an enormous national park that would run from West Glacier to the Canadian border. The Russells, therefore, were among the first “in-holders” allowed to maintain a small piece of private property in what became Glacier National Park, one of America’s most majestic and celebrated natural attractions.
In 1906 they hired Dimon and Milo Apgar, who had developed much of the area, to build them a log cabin on a gradual slope overlooking the lake, some one hundred feet from the water. The forest was so dense along the shore that the cabin was hardly visible from the lake. Visitors arriving by boat from Apgar, as there was no road at the time of the construction, looked for the telltale sign of a bison skull hanging from a tree, indicating where the Russell place was located. Once the artist made the copyrighted image of a bison skull his trademark, the Russells changed the cabin’s name from the original Kootenai Lodge to the Bull Head Lodge.
The cabin was a simple enough building: a thirty-by-forty-foot room with a fireplace and kitchen in the rear. Even before the addition of a loft and decks, the expansion of the kitchen, and the construction of a separate studio, the cabin met the basic need for shelter for the couple and their guests. Everyone slept on cots divided simply by muslin screens whose decorations became part of the lore of the cabin. Most of the fun to be had took place out-of-doors. The modest lodge was the starting point for hiking, camping, and horseback riding trips, canoeing, swimming, and racing sailing boats on the lake, and it was the setting of many a fish fry and evening spent around the campfire. Indoors was for sleeping, eating, and playing cards or whittling when the mosquitos became too aggressive. Storytelling and acting, particularly dressing up like Indians, were favorite activities.
Besides drawing, sketching, and painting the flora and fauna of Glacier, one of Charlie’s favorite pastimes at the cabin was building small gnome-like “little people” that he pieced together from pine cones, moss, leaves, and bits of wood and birch bark. He transformed the neighboring woods with their lush undergrowth and dappled light into a kind of fairyland that everyone seemed to enjoy.
The framed privacy screens that divided the sleeping areas of the cabin were a form of record of the season, as guests signed them and visiting artists often sketched and sometimes painted humorous scenes on them. [XXI]Dippie, Charles M. Russell, Word Painter, 211. Among the visiting artists Joe De Yong, Maynard Dixon, Philip R. Goodwin, William Krieghoff, Kathryn Leighton, Joe Scheuerle, and Olaf C. Seltzer. Both the screens and guestbook, listing some 150 visitors over two decades, reveal a list of notables. There were, of course, family members from both Charlie’s and Nancy’s sides who were regulars but also intimate friends from Great Falls like the Triggs, Albert, Josephine, and Margaret, contractor George Calvert who had built Charlie’s studio, and Frank Linderman. And then there were bona fide celebrities like author Mary Roberts Rinehart and humorist Irvin S. Cobb.
Popular outfitter Howard Eaton loved to bring his guests for a stop at the Bull Head Lodge, as celebrated painter and master storyteller Charlie was quick to provide the entertainment and Nancy to seize the opportunity to promote Charlie’s work. The couple often met Eaton’s dudes and trail parties traveling through Glacier at John Lewis’s Glacier Hotel (Fig. 10). Built as the Snyder Hotel in 1895 and accessible only by steamboat, the hotel across the lake was purchased by the ambitious John Lewis. In 1914 he razed the original structure and hired the Spokane firm of Kirtland, Cutter and Malmbren to design a three-story Swiss chalet–style lodge, which he renamed the Lewis Glacier Hotel (Fig. 11). With its one hundred rooms, lofty lobby, grand dining hall, and European-style service, Lewis’s hotel was intended to compete with the Great Northern Railway’s network of lodges, chalets, camps, and trails on the eastern side of the park and to draw wealthy tourists to the western side of the park.
Lake McDonald Lodge, as it became known after Lewis sold it to the National Park Service, became another favorite haunt of the Russells. Lewis and his wife were friends. Not only did Nancy arrange to exhibit and sell Charlie’s work at the hotel, but they often entertained there (Fig. 12). The entertainment typically included Charlie spinning cowboy yarns around the fire or sometimes performing scripted Blackfeet “sign language” skits with Nancy. [XXII]“Charles M. Russell: Russell demonstrating sign language and Russell funeral,” YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ds5BGGGp8KA, accessed September 12, 2020. This video includes a transcript … Continue reading
There is an unconfirmed story that Charlie designed the pseudo-Native patterns on the great fireplace in the lodge’s lobby. [XXIII]The strongest evidence is the similarity of the patterns to those that Russell and artist Phil Goodwin placed on the fireplace they rebuilt in 1907 at the Bull Head Lodge. Dippie, Charles M. Russell, … Continue reading
The significance for Russell of this classic Glacier lodge cannot be underestimated. Not only did he enjoy the company and land some plum commissions there, but the place itself, with its mammoth, unpeeled logs for interior posts, taxidermied mounts of moose and mountain goats, bear rugs, and Native-style bric-a-brac, mirrored his own rustic aesthetics.[XXIV]It was at this lodge that Russell met Judge James Bollinger from Davenport, Iowa, whom Charlie accompanied on several hunting trips to Montana. Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy, 192. George Paige, … Continue reading
If the Bulls Head Lodge was central to Charles M. Russell’s life, it was also intertwined with his sad demise. In 1923 Charlie took a tumble on the slope below the cabin and severely hurt himself. Chronic sciatica kept him in terrible pain and debilitated him in almost every way during his last few years. The Russells’ story at Glacier almost ended two years later. In the summer of 1925, an enormous forest fire raced across the land surrounding Lake McDonald, coming close to consuming the cabin and outbuildings. The Russells had to evacuate to Lake McDonald Lodge and wound up shortening their holiday that year. The buildings survived, but within a year Charlie was dead.
There were certainly other places of importance to Russell that deserve mention: the bars in Great Falls where Charlie did his share of carousing; the Lazy KY ranch in the Sweet Grass Hills, which they owned briefly from 1906 to 1910, and Trail’s End, the beautiful Spanish Mission–style house they built in Pasadena, California, where Nancy and their son, Jack, continued to live into the mid-1930s. The former, however, were secondary places in Russell’s life, and the California house, as much pleasure as it afforded them, was ultimately Nancy’s place.
Architecture affected Charlie Russell greatly, as both a physical manifestation and articulation of place and in its more internal, psychological, and felt dimensions. The prolific artist, as an observant and sensitive being, both embraced and shaped it. The arc of his prodigious career demonstrates that the architecture of land and sky was as much a social as a physical space for him.
|↑I||Harold Rosenberg, The Tradition of the New (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965), 13–22.|
|↑II||Cited in John Taliaferro, Charles M. Russell, The Life and Legend of America’s Cowboy Artist (Boston: Little, Brown, 1996), 135n43.|
|↑III||See the watercolor of Hope Hathaway in Dragged the Heavy Body up towards the Shelter of Rocks, 1904, in Larry Len Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy (Helena: Falcon, 1999), 175.|
|↑IV||Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy, illustrates many examples: 25, 59, 67, 93, 137, 145, 179, 182, 254, 270, 280, 389.|
|↑V||Vivian A. Paladin, CM Russell: The Mackay Collection (Helena: Montana Historical Society and the Mackay Family, 1979), 7.|
|↑VI||“As I Was/As I Am Now, Letter to William H. Rance, et al.,” 1896, and “Mosquito Season in Cascade, Letter to Lela V. Roberts,” 1897, in Brian W. Dippie, ed., Charles M. Russell, Word Painter: Letters, 1887–1926 (Forth Worth: Amon Carter Museum, 1993), 33–34.|
|↑VII||Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy, 72.|
|↑VIII||“Panhandle Jack/Pat Rily, Letter to Harry Duckett,” July 1901, in Kellie Keto, Charles M. Russell: The Artist in His Heyday, 1903–1926 (Santa Fe: Peters, 1995), 156–57.|
|↑IX||Dippie, Charles M. Russell, Word Painter, 26.|
|↑X||For example, the couple in the watercolor drawing titled Beauty Parlor, 1897, in Mary Beth Ewen, Fifty Years, Fifty Favorites from the C.M. Russell Museum (Great Falls: C.M. Russell Museum, 2003), 66–67; the watercolor and pen and ink drawing The Picture Man Has Spoken, 1909, in Dippie, Charles M. Russell, Word Painter, 118; and the two covers for Frank B. Linderman’s Indian Why Stories: Sparks from the War Eagle’s Lodge Fire (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1915), cited in Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy, 288 and 289.|
|↑XI||Elizabeth A. Dear, The Grand Expedition of Lewis & Clark (Great Falls: C.M. Russell Museum, 1998), 14.|
|↑XII||Ewen, Fifty Years, Fifty Favorites, 78–79.|
|↑XIII||“Friend Bill, Letter to William R. McDonough,” April 26, circa 1899, in Dippie, Charles M. Russell, Word Painter, 41. The action always takes place literally out-of-doors. See also the images of a woman offering a cup of water to a rider, Old Peter gunned down, a tenderfoot on a bucking bronc, and duels of different kinds in Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy, 173, 174, 180, 336, and 337, respectively.|
|↑XIV||Taliaferro, Charles M. Russell, The Life and Legend, 40, 64, and 85.|
|↑XV||See the Christmas greetings to the Triggs and John F. Hagenson in Dippie, Charles M. Russell, Word Painter, 149, 150, 230; the pen and ink sketch The Christmas Dinner in Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy, 66; and Christmas at the Line Camp, for Leslie’s Weekly magazine, December 8, 1904, in Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy, 165. .|
|↑XVI||Nancy Cooper Russell, introduction to Good Medicine, cited in Taliaferro, Charles M. Russell, The Life and Legend, 131n32.|
|↑XVIII||The original cabin was much lower than what we see today. In 1912 Russell had the walls raised four logs so as to accommodate his grand Lewis and Clark Meeting the Indians at Ross’ Hole, the commission for the state capitol. Taliaferro, Charles M. Russell, The Life and Legend, 184.|
|↑XIX||Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy, 129–31. In a postcard (Fig. 8) from 1909 reproduced by Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy, 130, Russell sits on his horse to the left and the cabin forms the backdrop to the rear right. The most common view of the cabin was typically taken from the right of the front porch with the figures standing in the center or slightly to the left, mirroring the composition of many of his sketches. See the image published by Estelline Bennett in “Russell the Western Painter,” The Bellman, May 10, 1919, reproduced in Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy, 323.|
|↑XX||Cited in Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy, 187n1.|
|↑XXI||Dippie, Charles M. Russell, Word Painter, 211.|
|↑XXII||“Charles M. Russell: Russell demonstrating sign language and Russell funeral,” YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ds5BGGGp8KA, accessed September 12, 2020. This video includes a transcript in the comments.|
|↑XXIII||The strongest evidence is the similarity of the patterns to those that Russell and artist Phil Goodwin placed on the fireplace they rebuilt in 1907 at the Bull Head Lodge. Dippie, Charles M. Russell, Word Painter, 73 and 211.|
|↑XXIV||It was at this lodge that Russell met Judge James Bollinger from Davenport, Iowa, whom Charlie accompanied on several hunting trips to Montana. Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy, 192. George Paige, an early ranger and self-taught painter, copied two of Russell’s drawings as large paintings on canvas for Lewis’s lobby. They still hang in what was originally the chapel.|