Russell, Charles M. (Charles Marion), 1864-1926


Russell, Charles M. (Charles Marion), 1864-1926


Gallery of Outstanding Montanans

Biographical Text

Charles Marion Russell came to Montana at the age of sixteen hoping to become a cowboy. His prominent St. Louis family—tired of his day-dreaming of frontier life—had approved the trip in hopes that it would end Charlie’s fascination with the West. It did not. “Kid” Russell stayed in Montana and worked as a cowhand throughout the 1880s. By the early 1890s, Russell quit cowboying to devote his full attention to art. He had no formal training— “nature has been my teacher,” he explained. In 1896 he married Nancy Cooper who brought not only stability to the artist’s life but great acumen as a business manager and promoter of Russell’s work. By the time of his death in 1926, Russell’s art, and his colorful personality, had earned him national renown and the admiration of the people of his adopted home state. Today, western art enthusiasts everywhere appreciate Russell’s remarkable artistic ability as well as his vision of the Old West that has long since passed into history. Visit the Mackay Gallery of Charles M. Russell Art to view more works by Russell.

Birth Date



Saint Louis, Mo.

Death Date