October 18, 2016, Great Falls, MT––The Miller Living Trust has donated an original Charles Russell watercolor painting titled Cowboys From The Circle Diamond to the C.M. Russell Museum’s permanent collection. Painted in 1897, this piece depicts a cowboy roping a steer, a popular theme for Russell during that time period.
Charles M. Russell
Cowboys From The Circle Diamond, 1897
watercolor on paper
Gift of Joe and Evelyn Miller

Evelyn L. Miller is donating the painting on behalf of her late husband, Joe Miller, who was a Charlie Russell Rider. The Millers acquired the painting from Janet and Marc Gruber of Scottsdale, Arizona. The Grubers developed a landmark guest lodge and restaurant, El Chorro Lodge, in the late 1930s where the painting hung for decades. The Millers worked for the Grubers at the lodge in the 1950s and purchased the lodge with the painting in the 1970s.

Over his career, Charles Russell created a number of works that depict cowboy roping scenes. The majority of these pieces were painted between 1890 and 1904. An early work, Cowboys From The Circle Diamond depicts a prairie sagebrush steppe with square butte in the background. The figures in the painting are similar to that of Roping a Wild Steer, c. 1895 and The Herd Quitter, 1897. The painting is a good example of Russell's early handling of the watercolor medium and his use of preparatory drafting. While it reveals the artist's struggle to skillfully merge his subjects with their landscape, it reinforces Russell's innate strength in rendering movement and action across a page.
“We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of the Miller family and proud to have this watercolor in our permanent collection and on display at the museum,” said Michael Duchemin, C.M. Russell Museum Executive Director. “We have developed outstanding relationships with our patrons in the Museum’s 63-year history. We find out just how much people appreciate the C.M. Russell Museum when they leave beautiful works of art like this to the museum for the enjoyment of future generations. These are invaluable gifts.”


The mission of the C.M. Russell Museum is to collect, preserve, research, interpret and educate on the art and life of Charles M. Russell; the art and lives of his contemporaries; and the art of preceding and ensuing generations that depicts and focuses on the culture, life, and country of Russell’s West. The vision of the museum is sharing Russell’s West with excellence.