The year 2019 marked the one hundredth anniversary of Calgary’s 1919 “Victory” Stampede, which billed itself as a world’s championship frontier contest and victory celebration that marked the end of the Great War. Already at the apex of his career, Charles M. Russell was invited by rodeo showman and Stampede manager Guy Weadick to mount a fine art exhibition of his paintings and sculptures at Stampede Park, then known as Victoria Park. It would be the artist’s second time to do so, as he had exhibited in Calgary at the 1912 Stampede. Charles and Nancy Russell shipped north twenty-four paintings and eight bronzes for the show, nine of which sold before year’s end. Such was the strength of Russell’s subject matter and execution in this period, his artistic prime.
Displayed in Summer of 2019, Return to Calgary: Charles M. Russell and the 1919 Victory Stampede featured twenty-two of the twenty-four paintings and all eight bronzes that were originally on display. The generosity of our lenders, totaling fifteen public and private collections, allowed us to nearly replicate this landmark exhibition of Russell’s work while adding fresh scholarship and perspectives on many of these masterworks.