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The Romance Makers
Charles M. Russell's paintings of the rugged lives of cowboys and Indians provided visual images of the romantic myth of the American West, which James Fenimore Cooper had already made popular in his 1826 Leatherstocking Tales...From 1890 to 1926, Russell explored and interpreted life in the western United States, as the traditional ways of Native Americans broken down before the onslaught of European "civilization." The painter was caught in a paradoxical situation, for the buyers of his scenes of heroism were the very people whose exploitation of the land was destroying the old life he loved.
from Snite Museum of Art, Selected Works: Snite Museum of Art (Notre Dame, 2005)