Friday, April 29, 2011

Waiting and Mad

I have lots of great work by Charles Russell, the great cowboy (and Indian) artist of the late 1800s and early 1900s, but I have not taken the time to be an expert on the details of his life.

I have no idea how the two paintings below are related to each other, other than Russell taking a go at the same composition — but that doesn't prevent me from marveling at their beauty (and being a married man, I certainly understand the bottom painting by its title).

Charles Russell — Keeoma — 1896

Charles Russell — Waiting and Mad — 1899


Sleepyeyed Rhon said...

I love anything that has to do with Native Indians....just love these two pieces of art and being a lady that "once was married" I can remember twirling my hair waiting on him to show up ... ! Both paintings are awesome and one should not be placed upon a wall without the other!
Happy Satureday

Jeff Overturf said...

These are great to see Thomas. I hope to see you post more of Russell's work, they are few and far between on the internet. His work had a humanity and humor of real life to it that folks like Remington missed.

I was born and reared in Great Falls, Montana - same as Mr. Russell and attended K-6th grades at Russell Elementary and graduated from Charles Marion Russell High School. I made many trips (both school field trips AND trips with whatever visiting relative was in town) to Russell's Museum, home and studio. In my formative young adult life I frequented many of the bars in town that Russell was rumored to haunt in his day.

I still don't know much of the details about each piece of work he did. I just know I like to look at them.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Rhon--thank you for validating these paintings, especially that they really need to be together. I remember seeing these separately and thinking that they were the same piece. It was only one day when I thought, 'wait a minute', and put them side by side when I saw how one led to the other.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Jeff--That's fabulous. What a great connection to Russell. I will indeed post more Russell—I love his stuff and his persona, all wrapped up with each other. In fact, from this point forward I dedicate all my Russell posts to you. I will formally do that on my next Russell post!

Jeff Overturf said...

You honor me, sirrah! I look forward to any and all Russell you've got. After 47 years, I still "get it" more with each view!

Annie said...

They are both wonderful, but I like the bottom one best, in terms of color, composition, and the expression of emotion.

borky said...

To me, Thomas, the '96 is the 'sketch', the '99 the 'proper' painting.

'96 is more about information: i.e., Red Indian; chick; horizontally prone; in tent; surrounded by lots of ethnic gubbins; etc., etc..

'99, though, is a much more sensuous affair and, above all, the artist is far more intensely aware his model's a woman, (even as she seems far more intensely aware of his attention).

Her arm isn't just there as a prop for her head: it has a certain muscular tension in it, while her semi-curled hand's bordering on an aggressive fist.

The artist's intensely aware of his subject's hair, her skin, the hint of sweat on parts of it, her face, her almost truculent features, her chin, her jaw, her ear lobe, her neck, her shoulder, her breast.

I don't know if him and the model were lovers, but she excites him physically - hence the raw vivid colour he surrounds her with - but he certainly hasn't slaked his appetite for her in this particular sitting, or the febrile tension he's trying to trap would've been lost and the image would've been much closer to '96.