The Russell: C.M. Russell Museum and March in Montana Recap

I recently returned from Western Art Week in Great Falls, MT.  I have to begin by thanking all of the collectors who purchased a painting from me in my exhibit room #120 at the Townhouse Inn!!  I appreciate your patronage, and the highlight of the weekend is catching up with all the great collectors of Western art!  If you like Western art, the festivities in Great Falls in March is a must at some point in your art collecting journey.  It can be overwhelming because there are so many events at different venues, and there's a lot, and I mean a LOT of art to look at.  Obviously, the main attraction is The Russell: The Sale to Benefit the C.M. Russell Museum.  Their show consists of a terrific auction that features both historical works and works by contemporary artists.  They also host the Skull Society of Artists, which are 21 artists that the C.M. Russell Museum chooses to exhibit at the Mansfield Center.  It's a terrific honor for artists to be selected as a Skull Society Artist, and collectors can purchase their work which are exhibited at the Mansfield Center where the Russell auction is also held.  The museum's Saturday night auction consists of works by some of today's leading contemporary Western artists as well has rare works from deceased artists like Charles Russell, Edgar Paxson, O.C. Seltzer, John Fery and William Standing to name just a few.  If you want to attend the auction, purchase your tickets early, as this year, the event sold out.  The C.M. Russell Museum posted a gross total of $7.8 million in sales, which includes sales from the auction, Skull Society Artist sales, and their Art in Action event where 100% of the proceeds go to the museum.  The auction itself grossed $6.5 million and over a third of that total was from the sale of two original paintings by Charles Russell.  The C.M. Russell Museum has to be pleased with the results, and it's fantastic to see so much support for a fantastic institution.

The other major event in Great Falls for Western Art Week was the March in Montana sale and exhibitor show.  Manitou Galleries and the Coeur d'Alene Art Auction partner up to put on this event, and it's always worth checking out!  It's hard not to love that most lots in the auction are either low reserve or no reserve.  March in Montana posted just over $2 million in sales from their auction this year, and having a front row seat, I can say they were getting strong prices in their sale.  Bob and Char Nelson have also steadily upgraded their exhibitors at the Townhouse, which makes for a terrific compliment to the works featured in the auction.  Their two day sale features everything from paintings, bronzes, weavings, spurs, saddles and guns.  If you like to "collect" then you'll feel right at home at the March in Montana sale at the Townhouse Inn.  With the John Fery book being released recently by Larry Len Peterson, the John Fery market is picking up some well deserved momentum.  I've always thought John Fery's market was under-valued, and I wouldn't be surprised to see more works come to the market, and fetch strong prices.  If you're in Great Falls for Western Art Week, then spending some time at the Townhouse Inn is a must.  The vibe is laid back and stress-free, but also energetic and amusing.  The familiar faces and camaraderie makes it feel like Grandma's house on a holiday with all the smiles and laughs, but without the drama and tension.  You might even get the drunk uncle with the great story you've heard a million times.  All in all, it makes for a tremendous amount of fun buying, selling, and trading!

Finally, the Out West Show seems to be making a nice revival at the Best Western Heritage Inn.  The quality of galleries and artist who exhibit are as good as they get in the Western art world, and if you can find the time, it's worth checking out.  All the festivities in Great Falls during Western Art Week is what makes it worth traveling to Great Falls, MT in March.  Here are a few photos from the weekend, and my next trip will be to Scottsdale for the Scottsdale Art Auction.  I hope to see you there!
The Russell with Skull Society booths
"For Supremacy" by Charles Russell; hammered $1.5 million

"Scouting Party" by Charles Russell; hammered for $950,000
Just a couple good-looking guys solving the art world's problems...

Chad Poppleton at the C.M. Russell Museum's Art in Action

Joe Kronenberg at the C.M. Russell Museum's Art in Action

CdA Galleries Exhibit Room #120 at the Townhouse Inn

CdA Galleries Exhibit Room #120 at the Townhouse Inn

CdA Galleries Exhibit Room #120 at the Townhouse Inn

Andy Thomas at the C.M. Russell Museum's Art in Action


  1. C.M.R. ,a signature, the frame is a point in time,the work can establish pure hidden talent, as well as the lack of experience or an artists labor in time. 1910 would be a more appropriate frame, the backing of a gallery signature for time is as important not just the current marketing price.


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