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In Charles M. Russell, Sculptor, Rick Stewart wrote that “In his notes on the Indian Family subject, derived from his conversation with the Russells, George Sack [a collector of Russell bronzes] identified the man and woman as members of the Gros Ventre tribe. He further noted that the ‘proud and happy mother’ was holding her infant son, securely held in a cradle board, towards the sunlight. Cradles were made of animal hide stretched over a board frame, with a fur-lined pocket with rawhide-reinforced sides attached to it to hold the infant. The faint design visible on the upper part of the board is consistent with a large, stylized decoration type apparently derived from eastern Canadian sources. Opposite the mother and her child, ‘the father is contentedly dreaming of the time when his young son will make a great name for himself and possibly become a chief of one of the societies, or a Medicine Man.’

“Russell’s Indian Family subjects seem to reflect the Gros Ventres’ all-important ambitions: males sought prestige and influence in their society, while females developed a spiritual relationship with the ‘Great Mystery above’- the basis for the tribe’s health and happiness.”

PROVENANCE
The Artist
Charles S. King, Scarsdale, NY
Present owner, by descent

LITERATURE
Rick Stewart, Charles M. Russell, Sculptor (Fort Worth, TX: Amon Carter Museum, 1994), pages 220-21, example illustrated

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