Russell Auction sales total over $3.5 million

Posted at 3:09 PM, Mar 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-25 18:32:41-04

GREAT FALLS – The C.M. Russell Museum is celebrating another successful Western Art Week, following the Russell Live Auction Saturday night.

The sale included 147 works of art, including 13 significant Russell works from private collections.

The gross sales total for the auction, including buyer’s premiums, was $3,586,100.

The highest-selling piece was Russell’s 1897 oil painting “Approach of the White Man.”

The painting sold for $1.2 million. Other high earners include “Indian with Bow,” for $650,000; “Indian Scout” $350,000; and “Preparing for the Buffalo Hunt” sold for $110,00.

Museum leaders said not everything was sold on auction night but they are working sell the remaining items through other channels.

“We have some other events that are important but none that exceeds the importance of this week,” said Tom Petrie, C.M. Russell Museum board chair. “We’re working to develop other ways that will have more diversity in our revenue stream but having a successful auction matters every time.”

The museum also saw success at its other events of the week, including the Russell First Strike Auction.

The Friday night auction featured 79 lots by living artists and grossed $359,450.

The Art in Action event, with quick draws and an auction, brought in $128,000.

In its third year, the Russell Runway Show brought wearable to Western Art Week.

The show raised $16,000 through donations and a live auction, and that money was matched by an anonymous donor, bringing the total to $27,235.

Museum staff say they are already planning for the 2020 Russell Exhibition and Sale.

Reporting by Joe Huisinga for MTN News