CHARLES MARION RUSSELL (1864-1926)
CHARLES MARION RUSSELL (1864-1926)
CHARLES MARION RUSSELL (1864-1926)
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CHARLES MARION RUSSELL (1864-1926)
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PROPERTY FROM THE PHILLIPS FAMILY COLLECTION
CHARLES MARION RUSSELL (1864-1926)

The Horse Wrangler

Details
CHARLES MARION RUSSELL (1864-1926)
The Horse Wrangler
inscribed 'C.M. Russell' with artist's skull device (on the base)—inscribed 'Roman Bronze Works/N-Y-' (along the base)
bronze with reddish brown patina
14 in. (35.6 cm.) high
Modeled circa 1924; cast circa 1924-29.
Provenance
M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York.
Lee E. Phillips, Jr., Wichita, Kansas, acquired from the above, 1953.
Private collection, Wichita, Kansas, by descent from the above.
Literature
R. Stewart, Charles M. Russell: Sculptor, Fort Worth, Texas, 1994, pp. 82, 83, 98, 131n131, 281-85, no. R-30, other examples illustrated.

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Lot Essay

A nostalgic self-portrait, The Horse Wrangler is a testament to the artist's early life on the open range as a night herder in Montana. According to Rick Stewart, Russell gifted the first cast of The Horse Wrangler to one of his closest friends, George Calvert, who said that he was with the artist when Russell modeled the sculpture in 1924.

"Several of Russell's friends, including Phillip Cole, Malcolm Mackay, and Will Rogers, purchased copies of the work [as well]…These copies, all cast by the Roman Bronze Works, are in the following collections: Cole—Gilcrease Museum; Mackay—Montana Historical Society; Rogers—Will Rogers State Historic Park." (C.M. Russell: Sculptor, Fort Worth, Texas, 1994, pp. 282, 283) In addition to these, Roman Bronze Works casts can be found in the collections of the Bradford Brinton Museum, Sheridan, Wyoming, and the R.W. Norton Museum, Shreveport, Louisiana. Another cast previously noted as belonging to the Museum of Western Art in Colorado is now in a private collection.

Stewart confirms the above, citing "at least seven casts of The Horse Wrangler with the Roman Bronze Works foundry mark are known to be in public collections. The Amon Carter Museum example, with its slightly altered face, is one of two known examples bearing the California Art Bronze Foundry mark, the other is in the Gund Collection of Western Art. When Britzman published his account of Russell's bronzes in 1949, he listed a total of ten casts. Since this total probably included at least one Nelli Art Bronze version, the actual number of casts made during Nancy Russell's lifetime was probably nine. However, the late Frederic G. Renner listed almost twice this number in public and private collections, so the real number of lifetime casts remains a question until each example can be carefully examined." (C.M. Russell: Sculptor, p. 283)

In light of the above, while The Horse Wrangler was initially modeled circa 1924, this cast was likely created circa 1924-1929, before Nancy Russell moved casting to the California Art Bronze foundry. Given its foundry mark of ‘Roman Bronze Works/N-Y-', the present work is one of the few The Horse Wrangler bronzes that were probably cast during Nancy Russell’s and possibly the artist’s lifetime.

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