Charles M. Russell (1864-1926), The Buffal Hunt [No. 39], 1919, Oil on canvas, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Amon G. Carter Collection, 1961.146

Russell painted more than fifty versions of the Indian buffalo hunt, and he always regarded this particular example as one of his finest efforts. The painting captures the climactic moment when the mounted Blackfoot hunters overtake the stampeding herd from opposite directions, forcing the animals to tumble over each other in a panic and allowing the warriors to close in and kill the cows and calves. Russell arranged the figures in a tight composition that occupies center stage in the broad Sun River landscape, with the blue-shouldered outline of Square Butte in the right background. Russell was determined to get the details of the buffalo hunt right, so he invited several of his Blackfoot friends to check the painting for accuracy. The painting later fell into the possession of one of Russell's closest friends, the humorist Will Rogers, who kept it in a place of honor at his house in Pacific Palisades, California.


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