The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990

Book Revzews

chapters add greatly to our understanding of the evolution of Anglo-
Mexican relations in Texas. That is why Anglos and Mexicans in the
Making of Texas will become essential reading to anyone interested in
Texas history.
University of Texas at Austin RODOLFO O. DE LA GARZA
Looking at Russell. By Brian W. Dippie. (Austin: University of Texas
Press, 1987. Pp. x+132. Acknowledgments, illustrations, color
plates, notes, index. $24.95-)
All manner of critics have focused on the work of Montana's favorite
son, the artist Charles M. Russell. A few have mumbled disparagingly
over the years, but mostly observers have lavished unrefuted praise on
Russell's creative genius, his inherent honesty of expression, and his
celebrated stature as a pictorial historian. With ease and reverence they
have boasted on the significance and uniqueness of Russell's vision. In
fact, Russell's subject matter has been so inviting and his persona and
charm so pervasive that few writers or readers have taken the time or
effort to assess the substance of his art. Those elements of style, tech-
nique, and method, the fundamentals of creative expression, have suf-
fered neglect from Russell's observers, who have chosen instead to
place primary focus on historical analogue and biographical nuance.
Brian W. Dippie's latest book does much to set us on track and to open
our eyes to Russell as an artist.
Critiques of Russell's art written in recent years are extremely rare.
In 1971 Lee Silliman provided a useful start with his article "CMR, The
Cowboy on Canvas ... ," in Montana: The Magazine of Western History.
Despite its insightfulness, Dippie's first piece on the artist, "Charlie
Russell's Lost West" (American Herztage, 1973), was essentially a limited
biographical overview. Yet Russell as an artist had been on Dippie's
mind for some time. He first began to instruct us on aspects of the art-
ist's technique and style in his essay for the catalogue Charles M. Russell:
American Artist (St. Louis: Museum of Westward Expansion, 1982).
Here he discussed the connections between Russell and the previous
generation of St. Louis painters, especially Carl F. Wimar.
Looking at Russell steps beyond Russell's St. Louis inspirations and ex-
plores a rich store of pictorial iconography that influenced the Mon-
tana artist. Frederic Remington's compositions, Maxfield Parrish's pal-
ette, and Eadweard Muybridge's photography are among the many
sources that Dippie reveals as having informed Russell's work. Dippie
also provides a clear understanding of when, how, and why Russell's
style and technique changed over the years. And he exposes the emo-


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed August 21, 2014.