The Montana Historical Society is loaning 20 Charles M. Russell paintings to the CM Russell Museum in Great Falls while the Helena museum undergoes extensive renovations, officials said Friday.
They said this loan is part of a joint venture between the two companies.
“It is appropriate to lend these paintings to the CM Russell Museum so that the public can enjoy them during the renovation of our current building,” said MTHS Director Molly. Kruckenberg in a new story.
He said the 66,000-square-foot addition to the Montana Heritage Center will allow the Helena museum to nearly triple the size of Russell’s current library when it reopens in 2025.
The loan includes some of Russell’s most famous paintings, including “Laugh Kills Lonesome,” a 1925 oil on canvas; “Yoke,” a 1908 watercolor; and “Caught in the Act,” an 1888 oil on canvas.
The new exhibition at the Russell Museum will open on March 17.
They will join some of the 1,000 Russell works owned by the CM Russell Museum, a non-profit organization that owns one of the largest Russell collections in the world.
“Charlie will greatly appreciate this collaboration between friends, the CM Russell Museum and the Montana Historical Society,” CM Russell Museum Executive Director Tom Figarelle said in the release.
He said that this art, displayed alongside those in the Russell’s permanent collection, will be the largest single-site display of Russell Masterworks anywhere.
“We are proud of this, but we are very excited to expand our relationship with MTHS during their renovation project,” said Figarelle.
Russell, who died in 1926 and grew up in Montana with a home in Great Falls, captured the spirit of the American West through his work including oil paintings, watercolors, sculptures, and graffiti. . Known worldwide as the “first cowboy artist,” his work celebrates Native culture, beautiful landscapes and wildlife scenes.
The CM Russell Museum, 400 13th St. N. in Great Falls, will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday, April 30 and then change to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday through September 30.