Saturday, March 06, 2010


Manitou Galleries and Coeur d’Alene Art Auction (
Catalog at

This is a commercial gallery auction that does not give money to any charity, including the CM Russell Museum. However, the owners of these galleries overlap with important people at the CM Russell Museum. The present director of the museum was previously the owner of a private gallery.


#128 “Friend or Foe” 11 of 50, 14”x6.5”x5,” est. $1,200-1,500
On the prairie there were considerable protocols for deciding how to react to strangers. For instance, if a tribe from out of the region wanted to hunt buffalo on Blackfeet territory, they would send a person to sit within sight but some distance away from the village. An envoy would come from the village to guide that person down to the head people for a parlay. If the leaders were feeling liberal and there were lots of buffalo or they knew the outside tribe was hungry, they would give permission. If the messenger hit them when they were sore from outsiders killing them or starving themselves, the messenger might be lucky to take his message back to his people.

#130 “Charlie” (bust) (1973) 4 of ?, 5”x6”x4,” est. $500 - 900
This would have been cut from the second or third standing figure of Charlie Russell that Bob did.

#152 “Red Fox” 182 of 250, 4.5”x4.5”x4,” est. $200 - 400
We often had pet foxes in the household but they always ran away as soon as they were mature, intent on starting their own families.

#153 “Steer” (1974) 181 of 250, 3.5”x7”x4,” est. $200 - 400
Especially in the summer Bob always tried to keep on hand small bronzes within the means of admirers without major resources. Some of the earliest figures he ever made were lying down livestock, because it’s hard to make legs and they are fragile.

#188 “Running Caribou” (AKA “Winter King”) (1956) 24”x23”x6.5,” est. $3,000 - 4,000
This was a maquette from the transition period between taxidermy and sculpture when Bob was collecting one of each major game animal in Montana. The caribou, which were up by Yaak, withdrew north because of climate change, so he never did manage to get one.

#189 “Captain Lewis and Our Dog Scannon” (Dog’s name later corrected to Seaman.)
3 of 150, Arrowhead Foundry cast, 10”x12”x11, $2500 - 3500
This would be part of a small set of bronzes that came out of the big Lewis & Clark monuments in Fort Benton and Great Falls. Lewis had truly lousy handwriting, almost as bad as his spelling, so the dog’s name was in question for a while.

#378 “Trophy Rams” (1960) #4, Big Horn Foundry cast, 20”x16”x13,” est. $3,000 - 5,000
Again, this is from the overlap between taxidermy and bronze. It was meant to be educational for hunters. The legality of shoting bighorns is determined by the amount of horn they are carrying. The bottom ram is legal. The middle ram is nice. The top ram is truly a trophy, majestically full-curl.

#503 “The Winchester Rider” (1979), Big Horn Foundry cast, 150/250, 18”x21”x11, est. $10,000 - 15,000
This was commercially commissioned and advertised, which explains the higher price. The Big Horn Foundry was Scriver’s own, which adds to the value.

#557 “1861 Mail” (1991) 46 of 100, 15”x12”x9.” est. $2,000 - 3,000
Bob loved a series. This goes with the “Pony Express.” He turned out many horse and rider pairs of various periods and vocations and enjoyed the research.

#558 “On the Trap Line” (1977) 18 of 100, 14”x9”x7.5,” est. $3,000 - 4,000
Parallel with his taxidermy business Bob was a fur-buyer. He had learned the business while in Edmonton, visiting the big fur-trading convocation there and working for a mink rancher. Trappers in Blackfeet country were regular visitors to the studio all winter.

#559 “4 o’Clock in the Morning” (1961), 1 of 24 in the first edition, 9”x17”x7,” est. $4,000 - 5,000
This is Playboy, the same horse that posed for “Lone Cowboy.” The two pieces form a very nice pair. Playboy cringed away from the saddle in just this way. It is curious that all the #1 castings of Bob’s work were kept by himself, which means that this bronze ought to be cached away with the rest of his estate at the Montana Historical Society. Ask to see the provenance (the chain of ownership) since casting. I would have helped to cast and patine this bronze.

#560 “A New Camp” (1995), 33 of 50, 15”x25”x11,” est. $4,000 - 6,000
A procession bronze from late in Bob’s career.


#323 “Ready for Battle” 32 of 150, 14”x14”x6.5,” est.$2500 - 3500, sold for $2,006
This elk is swollen with lust and picking fights with every other male elk as he gathers his harem. He will be bugling, fasting, and dangerous.

#324 “Part of the Job” 100 of 250, 15”x12.5”x6.5”, est. $3,000 - 4,000, not sold.
A nice portrait of a cowboy. I don’t know whether it’s meant to be a specific person.

#326 “When One Shot’s Enough” (1977) 38 of 40, 10.5”x14.5”x11.5,” est. $3500-4500, sold for $2950
This is a group “story” bronze full of diagonals and curves. Note the tails that slash out into space.

#327 “The Signal Glass” 32 of 100, 22.5”x18”x16.5,” est. $8,000 - 10,000, not sold.
Heliographs work well on the prairie if there is a high spot to signal or watch from. This triangular arrangement is full of small diagonals (the legs) to suggest stability and waiting, but contained action which will be released when the signal comes.

#477 “Budding Buckaroo.” 48 of 150, 11”x22”x10, est. $4,000 to 5,000. not sold.
A sweet little portrait of a boy luring a horse with an apple.

#480 “The Dakota Bull” 35 of 48, 7.5”x10”x4.5,” est. $2,000 to 3500. Sold for $1770
Very nice portrait. The bulls from the Niobrara Federal Bison Range are occasionally brought in to improve the genetics of the Moiese Bison Range.

#481 “Headin’ Out” 104 of 250, 12”x12”x8,” est. $5,500 - 7500. Sold for 5130
A horseback hunter has made his quota and is headed for home. The slanted base means that the group has tension, the animals showing exertion.

#570 Group of three bronzes. “Northfork Wolves,” 32 of 200, 9”x10”x6.5;” “Middle Fork Grizzly” 32 of 200, 8.25”x9”x5.5”; "South Fork Spring" (Elk) 32 of 200. 8.5”x10”x7”. As a set est. $3500 -4500. Not sold.
Meant for collectors, this is a sort of indicator of the area on the west side of Glacier Park.

#574 “Enemy Tracks” (Known here as “Following the Trail”) #10. 16”x14”x10”. est. $5500 - 7500. Sold for $3540.
This sculpture was originally commissioned by George Montgomery about 1960. The idea is that the scouts are tracking a cavalry man whose empty canteen is on the ground among the cactus. I made some of the cactus.

#575 “The Fast Blanket” (1978) #2, 18”x10”x9”, est. $5,000-7,000 Sold for $4,130
Another form of long-distance communication was blanket-signalling, a kind of semaphore. No smoke involved. I suppose a “fast” moving blanket signaled urgency.


#189 “Calf in the Way” (1981) 13 of 150, 22”x19”, est. $3,000 - 5000
A story group that repeats a tale often told with cattle.

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