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Indian Party is recorded in the C. M. Russell Catalogue Raisonné as reference number CR.PC.157

According to Rick Stewart, “The subject of a small group of Indian warriors on the move, usually depicted on elevated ground and set against a dramatic high plains landscape, was one of Russell’s favorites. The Indians, who appear to be Blackfeet, symbolized for the artist the wild, free life of the Plains Indian before the coming of the white man. Blackfeet raiding parties sometimes rode more than 200 miles to a point south of the Yellowstone River to steal horses from their hated enemies, the Crow. Such groups rode with few clothes or other belongings beyond their weapons and travelling packs. Once they reached the enemy camp it was not uncommon for these marauding groups to take horses. The raiders frequently targeted animals that were picketed close to the enemy lodges, because they were deemed more valuable than the range horses that were allowed to roam more freely outside the village. One interesting detail that ethnologist John Ewers recorded from his Blackfeet informants—most of whom had stolen horses in their youth—was that it was common practice for the would-be thieves to rub cottonwood sap on their bodies and hands, because the odor would tend to quiet the horses and make them willing to follow. The group depicted in this watercolor, however, could be an advance party on the lookout for buffalo. The high plains landscape, with a river flowing beneath bluffs in the distance, suggests the Judith Basin country south of the Missouri River, which Russell often depicted in his work. The beautifully-rendered watercolor displays the softer, looser brushwork of the artist’s late style, as well as a greater use of opaque over transparent color.”

PROVENANCE:
Private Collection
Peter Wray, Phoenix, Arizona
Private Collection, Wyoming

EXHIBITIONS:
Charles M. Russell, The Artist in His Heyday, Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, August 18 - September 30, 1995

LITERATURE:
Exhibition Catalog, Charles M. Russell, The Artist in His Heyday (Santa Fe, New Mexico: The Peters Corporation, 1995), pages 60-61, illustrated

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