209 In the Nick of Time

Winning Bid Undisclosed
This item SOLD at 2015 Apr 11 @ 14:41UTC-7 : PDT/MST
Category Western Americana
Auction Currency USD
Start Price NA
Estimated at 250,000.00 - 350,000.00 USD
In the Nick of Time
Artist: Russell, Charles M.Date of Birth: 1864-1926
Medium: Watercolor
Dimensions: 18 x 22 inches
Signed: Signed lower left and skull

From a label, verso: Many years ago, Mr. Frank N. Smith, probably in the early 1890Õs, was manager of the old silver smelter, located near the Giant Spring in Great Falls, Montana. The Smiths were good friends of both Charlie and Nancy Russell during their years spent in Great Falls and sometime during that period acquired the painting. Mrs. Atwater and Mrs. Sanders remember this picture as always having been a part of the family, ever since they were old enough to remember anything. The ÒBearÓ picture was always thereÑfrom Great Falls to Salt Lake City to Helena and East Helena and finally, to Spokane. One of the alternate titles of In the Nick of Time is A Tight Place. While both titles suit the painting and the action, A Tight Place neatly describes this tightly packed composition. Russell leaves no negative space here, nothing to rest the eye on or move the eye across. Your eye flicks from claws to knife to rock to fallen tree to fallen rifle to puff of smoke and back again. The sheer restlessness of looking at this work doubles and redoubles the tension in this split-second scene. The stage that Russell setsÑdeadfall and bouldersÑis a veritable minefield for missteps. The broken tree trunks and bare, gnarled branches seem to suggest that death is near, looking on, waiting to take the Indian or the bearÑor both.