Charlie Russell paintings on display at Calgary Stampede
Stampede goers have the chance to glimpse the works of one of the premier artists of the old west for the first time in a century.
Charlie M. Russell was known as “the cowboy artist” and a collection of his paintings, which first awed Calgarians in 1919, are on display at the Stampede.
They’re in the Western Oasis in the BMO Centre.
“In 1919 Guy Weadick invited the cowboy artist, Charlie Russell, to the Stampede. He had been here in 1912 and returned in 1919 with an exhibition of 24 oil paintings,” said Stampede historical specialist Christine Leppard.
The images on display are high-end reproductions. The originals, lent by private and public collections, are on display at the Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana.
The ones on display represent some of Russell’s most memorable works, offering a colourful and vibrant glimpse in the western way of life.
“Russell's sort of masterworks period Was from 1910 to 1919. historians agree his best paintings were done in that time,” said Leppard.
He created more than 2,000 paintings of cowboys, Indigenous peoples and landscapes of Alberta and the western U.S. and some of Russell’s works have sold for millions of dollars.
He is considered by many the foremost artist of the old west. And his Stampede exhibition of 1919 was a dig deal in its day.
“It certainly helped Russell's career,” said Leppard.
“It exposed him to an international audience but it also set a way forward for the Calgary Stampede as stewards of western art. And that is a tradition and legacy we are very proud of and celebrate and practice today.”
The reproductions on display at the Stampede will be destroyed or returned to owners of the originals once Stampede wraps up Sunday evening.
And the originals can be seen in Great Falls until Sept. 30.
(With files from CTV News Calgary's Shaun Frenette)