Harmless Hunter:
Charles M. Russell’s Wildlife Art

Charles M. Russell

September 19, 2014 – January 4, 2015

Known as the “Cowboy Artist,” Russell nevertheless painted, drew, and sculpted various Western animals, among them the grizzly bear, the deer, and the buffalo, throughout his long and storied career. This exhibition will feature over 40 works of art featuring wildlife by Charles M. Russell and was organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art in collaboration with the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West, University of Oklahoma.

From Guest Curator B. Byron Price: “Charles M. Russell’s artistic oeuvre is replete with images of animals, wild and domestic. Depictions of the feral variety comprise roughly a quarter of his total production of paintings, drawings, and sculpture. Wild creatures also figure in some of his most interesting illustrated letters. If wild horses and cattle are included, the percentage of animal paintings is even higher. Russell’s wildlife art attracted avid patronage—from the publishers of books, magazines, and calendars seeking illustrations—to wealthy businessmen anxious to decorate their clubrooms with scenes of nature and the hunt, symbols of what President Theodore Roosevelt called the ‘strenuous life.’ Many of Russell’s paintings and sculptures celebrate the majesty and harmony of nature and portray a symbiotic, if somewhat romanticized view of the relationship of Native Americans with the land. Works featuring wildlife and human interaction, however, often address more problematic environmental themes, most of them a reflection of the rapid changes wrought by the onset of settlement, economic development, and near decimation of wild game.”

This exhibition is made by possible with support from World Kitchen, LLC.


Byron PriceMeet the Curator

Byron Price currently holds the Charles Marion Russell Memorial Chair, is Director of Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West at the University of Oklahoma and is Director of the University of Oklahoma Press.

He is a 1970 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and earned an MA in Museum Science at Texas Tech University in 1977.  Before taking his current position, Price spent nearly 25 years in the museum profession. He served as executive director of the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas (1982-1986); the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City (1987-1996); and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming (1996-2001).

Price is the author of more than three dozen journal articles on western American history and art and has written several books including Fine Art of the West (2004); The Chuck Wagon Cook Book (2004); Erwin E. Smith: Cowboy Photographer (1997); and Cowboys of the American West (1996).

Price is also the editor of Charles M. Russell: A Catalogue Raisonné (2007), which won the 2007 Western Heritage Award for the best art book of the year from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, the 2008 Caughey-Western History Association Prize for best book of the year in western history, the 2008 High Plains Book Award for nonfiction and the 2009 Joan Patterson Kerr Award from the Western History Association for the best illustrated book on the American West.

In addition to his published works, he has served as a consultant for several television series and specials including “Unsolved History: The Gunfight at the OK Corral”, “Cowboy Tech”, “Cowboys and Outlaws” on the History and Discovery Channels, and “Cowboys of the Tall Grass” and “Treasures of the Gilcrease: Charles M. Russell” for Oklahoma Public Television.


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