Editor's note: In July 2002 the C. M. Russell Museum provided source material to Resource Library Magazine for the following article or essay. If you have questions or comments regarding the source material, please contact the C. M. Russell Museum directly through either this phone number or web address:


Collaboration on Charles M. Russell Catalogue Raisonné


The C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana and the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West at the University of Oklahoma are partnering on a effort to complete work on a "raisonné" - or "reasoned catalog" - listing and illustrating the entire body of works of the renowned Western artist for whom the museum and center are named. A catalogue raisonné is described as perhaps the most important and comprehensive tool for learning about and understanding the art of a particular artist. (left: The Fireboat, C.M. Russell, oil, 1918, Courtesy of the C.M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, Montana)

The Charles M. Russell Catalogue Raisonné, begun in 1996 by the C.M. Russell Museum, will include information on all Russell's known oil and watercolor paintings, illustrated letters, pen and ink drawings and original models.

The University of Oklahoma is proud to join with the C.M. Russell Museum in this undertaking of historic importance," said OU President David L. Boren.

When completed, the number of documented works by Charles Marion Russell, known as "America's Cowboy Artist," is expected to approach 5,000. In addition, a detailed chronology of Russell's life and artistic activities and achievements is being developed, along with a detailed exhibition history, an index of his artworks and an index of publications in which his work appeared.

The Catalogue Raisonné will allow students, researchers, collectors and the public access to detailed and accurate data on the works of the artist and will make possible a new and more extensive interpretation about Russell's life, career and artistic development. "The catalogue also will provide a vehicle for a deeper appreciation of Russell's visual and emotional portrayal of a disappearing West; his sympathy of vanishing and changing traditional cultures, such as American Indians and open-range ranching; his influence on other artists; and the continuing tradition of western American art," said Inez S. Wolins, the executive director of the C.M. Russell Museum.

"The completed Catalogue Raisonné will provide scholars with enormous opportunities for undertaking original research, studying this important American artist and the country and people Russell knew," said B. Byron Price; the director of the Charles M. Russell Center at OU. "It will have lasting impact as a primary research document. We are pleased to be partnering with the C.M. Russell Museum on this significant project."

An advisory committee has been formed to help guide and develop the project. Members include Rick Stewart, executive director of the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas; Brian Dippie, professor of history, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia; Peter Hassrick, founding director emeritus of the Charles M. Russell Center at the University of Oklahoma; and Ginger Renner, independent Russell scholar, Scottsdale, Ariz.

The C.M. Russell Catalogue Raisonné is scheduled for completion in 2004. It will be published in both book and electronic formats.

Authentic Russell works from both public and private collections are being sought for the C.M. Russell Catalogue Raisonné project. Anyone owning works by Charles M. Russell is asked to contact B. Byron Price, director of the Charles M. Russell Center at the University of Oklahoma, 520 Parrington Oval, Room 202, Norman, OK, 73019, (405) 325-5937.


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Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

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