Posted: Feb 24, 2013 10:34 PM by Tara Grimes - MTN News
Residents got the first look at a very rare collection of art at the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls on Sunday.
The exhibit, entitled "'I beat you to it': Charles Russell at the Mint" features six of his major oil paintings, as well as watercolors, illustrated letters, and a set of wax models.
Staff said from the late 1890s to the 1940s, Sid Willis, a close friend of Russell's, displayed the artwork in the Mint saloon in Great Falls.
This collection is known as the "one that got away" after a campaign in 1945 was organized to keep the paintings in Montana, but failed. The paintings are on loan from private collectors.
"It's kind of a once in a lifetime opportunity," C.M. Russell Museum chief curator Sarah Burt said. "The last time any of these works were here in Great Falls was 25 years ago so this is the only third time in the history of these works that they've been back to Montana."
Staff decided to unveil this exhibition to celebrate the museum's 60th anniversary.