A century after its last show, the imagery of 20 of the 24 paintings and the eight bronzes of Charlie Russell, the most famous cowboy artist in the world, will once again be displayed at the Calgary Stampede, the show that introduced the artist to Canada. How this all came about is the stuff of legends.
From its origins as a local agricultural fair in 1886, the Calgary Stampede was founded by Guy Weadick in 1912 to bring together performers, athletes, showmen, and stakeholders with a vested interest in Western culture.
The First World War interrupted almost all of the agricultural shows, but in celebration of the end of the Great War, Weadick again brought together a tally book of talent, including the great artist Charlie Russell, to exhibit at the 1919 Victory Stampede. Russell’s work was showcased in one of the major exhibits — a fine arts show featuring 24 paintings and eight bronzes, the majority of which were created over the course of the war. Russell accepted Weadick’s invitation, as he enjoyed great success at his showing at the Stampede in 1912.
Then, as it still is today, the stunning beauty of Russell’s work continues to fuel the dreams of millions of artists and range riders and captures the soul of the West of two nations — and thanks to a great working partnership with the CM Russell Museum, we get to see the majority of the art once again at the Calgary Stampede.