C.M. Russell Museum Presents Annual Fine Art Exhibition and Fundraiser

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Western art museum’s primary fundraising event The Russell: The Sale to Benefit the C.M. Russell Museum includes 3 auctions of fine art and more than 20 works by artist Charles M. Russell.

Indian on Horseback

Charles M. Russell (1864–1926), Indian on Horseback, watercolor and pencil on paper, est. $250,000–350,000

We hope for a record-breaking year in sales, because the proceeds of The Russell provide crucial support for the museum’s operations and educational and curatorial programming.

The C.M. Russell Museum is pleased to present the third annual The Russell: The Sale to Benefit the C.M. Russell Museum. An exhibition of more than 260 live and silent auction works are on view at the C.M. Russell Museum from February 24 to March 17, 2012, with three days of fundraising activities taking place March 15–17. The Russell comprises three distinct events with all proceeds benefiting the museum’s operations. The exhibition and sale features artwork by celebrated living and deceased artists, including contemporary works by Andy Thomas, Greg Kelsey, Oleg Stavrowsky, Clark Kelley Price, and Charles Fritz, as well as historic pieces by Karl Bodmer, Nicolai Fechin, John Fery, and Carl Oscar Borg.

Stealing the spotlight of this year’s show, however, is Charles M. Russell himself. More than 20 of the artist’s works are featured in the exhibition and sale. This wealth of Russell works is due in part to the inclusion of property from the estates of Frederic G. and Ginger K. Renner, both noted authorities on the art and life of Charles Russell. “The Russell Museum is very grateful to the Renner family for placing these wonderful artworks in this year's benefit,” said Susan Johnson, the museum’s chief operations officer. “We hope for a record-breaking year in sales, because the proceeds of The Russell provide crucial support for the museum’s operations and educational and curatorial programming.”

In addition to the proceeds the museum hopes the sale of Renner Collection artworks will generate at The Russell, the Renner Estate and the families of Fred and Ginger Renner have generously gifted to the museum the Frederic G. Renner Library—one of the most complete records of Russell artworks in existence—and two iconic Russell watercolors, When I Was a Kid and Meat for the Wagons. The two watercolors are currently on view at the museum and will remain on display during the Russell sale.

Activities commence Thursday evening, March 15, at the C.M. Russell Museum with a silent auction of fine art, objects, and unique travel experiences. Art to be sold in the Saturday live auction will also be available for viewing. Hors d’oeuvres, hosted refreshments, and the opportunity to mingle with artists, collectors, and art lovers are all part of Thursday’s event.
On Friday, March 16, Art in Action®, an exciting variation of a traditional artists’ quick draw, returns to the Meadowlark Country Club. Featuring 26 nationally known artists working in a variety of media, the artists’ “quick finish” gives participants several hours to complete a work of art while interacting with the crowd. Art in Action® includes an elegant brunch, hosted mimosas and Bloody Marys, musical entertainment, and a live auction to sell the finished artwork. Participating artists donate one hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale to the museum.

This year’s exhibition and sale also provides a great educational opportunity for visitors. The 2012 Russell features stunning aquatints by Swiss-born artist Karl Bodmer (1809–1893). On Saturday, March 17, the museum presents a free seminar highlighting Bodmer’s artistic influence on other artists and his importance in documenting the Northern Plains Indians. Featured speaker is Prix de West artist Andrew Peters, who was inspired to become an artist by the life and art of Karl Bodmer.

The culmination of the weekend’s events is the Saturday evening live auction of significant historic and contemporary Western art. This year, the live auction moves to a new location at the Best Western Heritage Inn. The new venue promises to bring even more excitement to the highlight of the weekend. “The move to an evening auction in a more spacious setting adds to the elegance and energy of the occasion,” says C.M. Russell Museum’s special projects coordinator Sally Newhall. “It brings the festive feel of The Russell Live Auction to life.”

The Russell: The Sale to Benefit the C.M. Russell Museum is sponsored in part by the Montana Office of Tourism. Visit cmrussell.org to learn more about the lineup of events, purchase tickets, and view the online catalogue of art.

The mission of the C.M. Russell Museum is to collect, preserve, research, interpret, and educate on the art and life of Charles M. Russell; the art and life of his contemporaries; and the art of preceding and ensuing generations that depicts and focuses on the culture, life, and country of Russell’s West.

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Courtney Peterson
cpeterson@cmrussell.org
(406) 727-8787
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