Gateway to Montana's Artistic Legacy

Exhibit Archives

The Call of the Mountains 
The Artists of Glacier National Park

June 27 to October 12, 2002

Crown of the Continent

The explorers of the Northern Rocky Mountains, and the men who brought the railroad to the Flathead Valley and the magical region we now call Glacier National Park. George Bird Grinnell, Dr. Lyman Sperry, Albert Sperry, Louis Hill, Bill Kenny & the Great Northern Goat (graphically designed by Joe Scheuerle), homesteader Lee Kerr, and longtime educator Robert Scriver. Other great painters traveled through the area, like Carl Rungius, Guy Wiggins, and Clayton Staples.

George Bird Grinnell (1849 - 1938) Born on September 20, 1849 in Brooklyn, Grinnell spent his early years growing up on a former estate of naturalist John James Audubon. Here, he developed an interest in ornithology while peering from Audubon's very window. 
As he grew older, Grinnell suffered from neurasthenia, a trendy malady common among men of the upper class. Characterized by headaches and sleeplessness, neurasthenia was attributed to excessive study and nervous strain. Grinnell's treatment was to explore the American West. His frontier adventures began in 1870. Through his travels, he found himself irresistibly drawn to everything the West had to offer, including Native Americans. 
Grinnell viewed Native People as instructors. In one article he wrote for Forest and Stream titled "What We May Learn from the Indian," he described how they protected the game on which they survived by practicing proven methods of conservation in hunting. In later trips he witnessed the senseless slaughter of wildlife. Due to his growing reputation as a sportsman who enjoyed hunting but loathed the wanton killing of wildlife. 
Forest and Stream hired Grinnell as its natural history editor in the spring of 1876. For $10 a week, he wrote book reviews and several pages of copy while still working on his doctorate at Yale in Osteology and Vertebrate Paleontology. From his earliest days at Forest and Stream, Grinnell bought stock in the company. By 1880 he owned almost one third of the magazine and eventually became its president and editor. For years Grinnell championed the formation of a private organization to protect the rapidly changing West. 
In May 1884, he wrote in Forest and Stream about the need for an "association of men bound together by their interest in game and fish, to take active charge of all matters pertaining to the enactment and carrying out of laws on the subject." The Boone and Crockett Club was established in 1887. Its members shared an enthusiasm for big game hunting while loathing the disastrous effects both market hunters and settlers had on the wildlife population. Grinnell remained the group's most influential member. He embodied the principles the club stood for, wrote most of the Boone and Crockett book series on hunting and conservation, and advocated as one of its objectives to explore the only "wild and unknown… portions of the country" that still existed - including the St. Mary region in northwestern Montana.
Grinnell's first visit to the St. Mary Region 
George Bird Grinnell is considered by most to be the father of Glacier National Park. It was through much of his efforts that the "Crown of The Continent" became designated a National Park on May 11, 1910. Grinnell first visited the St Mary region in northwestern Montana in September 1885. His interest in this area was peaked after reading James Willard Schultz's poignant description in a Forest and Stream article entitled To Chief Mountain
Grinnell wrote Schultz and asked if he would guide him on a hunt.  As the men reached a mountain ridge overlooking a valley, heavy clouds moved in. They began their descent in falling snow. Grinnell's enthusiasm was not diminished and he wrote these words to describe the experience: 
"An artist's palette, splashed with all the hues of his color box, would not have shown more varied contrasts. The rocks were of all shades, from pale gray, through green and pink, to dark red, purple and black, and against them stood out the pale foliage of the willows, the bright gold of the aspens and cottonwoods, the vivid red of the mountain maples and ash, and the black of the pines. In the valley were …lakes, turbid and darkly blue, somber evergreens; on the mountain side foaming cascades, with their white whirling mist wreathes, gray blue ice masses, and fields of gleaming snow. Over all arched a leaden sky, whose shadows might dull, but could never efface, the bewildering beauty of this mass of color."
Blackfoot Lodge Tales 
In 1889, Grinnell wrote his first book on Indian life, Pawnee Hero Stories and Folk-Tales with Notes on the Origin, Customs, and Character of the Pawnee People. It received critical and popular acclaim. Encouraged by the public's acceptance of a work on Native Americans, Grinnell urged his friend James Willard Schultz to write a book on the Blackfeet. Though he had already written Life Among the Blackfeet for Forest and Stream, Schultz desired someone else to write the first major book about these people. Schultz sincerely believed Grinnell should be the author and provided him with insightful notes. 
Grinnell wanted to finish mapping the St. Mary and Swiftcurrent regions and further explore the glacier above Upper St. Mary Lake. In 1891, on his sixth trip to the St. Mary area, Grinnell brought along William H. Seward, Jr. and Henry L. Stimson, fellow classmates from Yale. Schultz was the party's guide, and asked Billy Jackson, an Indian scout to join the group. Grinnell named mountains in honor of these friends: Stimson, Jackson, and Charles E. Reynolds, managing editor of Forest and Stream
After the trip, Grinnell stayed on at the Blackfeet Reservation, gathering information for his book. Published in 1892 by Charles Scribner's Sons, Blackfoot Lodge Tales: The Story of a Prairie People, stands as one of the most remarkable works ever published on native people. Grinnell's sincere empathy for the plight of all American Indians was in direct opposition to the popular doctrine of manifest destiny where nature and "nature's people" were but minor irritants to the spread of progress. 
His words, written over one hundred years ago said in part: "The most shameful chapter of American history is that in which is recorded in the account of dealings with the Indians. The story of our government's intercourse with this race is an unbroken narrative of injustice, fraud, and robbery. Our people have disregarded honesty and truth whenever they have come in contact with the Indian..."

The Great Northern Railway Goat
Retold from the National Editorial Association Outing on board the Great Northern Railway's N. E. A. Special July 27, 1922:
In the cosmopolitan sixth ward of South Minneapolis, there was a newsboy, Billy Kenny. To keep pace with the volume of his business he established the first corner newspaper stand in his hometown. The Sunday morning papers furnished too great a load for little Billy to carry, so he got a Billy goat from another kid. He hitched up his companion for real business, and transported his heavy load of Sunday editions from "Newspaper Alley" to his street corner stand. One day particular neighbors complained of the personal odor in the block where Billy kept his goat. They got Billy's goat. He couldn't keep it out in the woodshed any more. He sold the animal to a rancher living near Midvale, Montana, who advertised that he had some young mountain goats he had captured and wanted a distinctive type of long-whiskered domesticated goat to cross-breed with the wild Rocky Mountain Goat. Billy's goat answered the description -- he had the longest goatee of any Billy goat in South Minneapolis. Billy Kenny had been learning telegraphy, and it was not long before he was on the payroll of Hill's railway system. Twenty-five years later he was on the top rung of the ladder. One day while traveling the Great Northern system in his private car, business necessitated a stop-over at the town of Midvale, Montana, which had changed its name to Glacier Park Station. Vice President Kenny wondered if the old rancher who bought newsboy Kenny's Billy goat was still in that community. He was not. The railway official made inquiry and learned the man had died. "Well, what became of the goats he was raising?" Mr. Kenny inquired. "The country up there is full of 'em -- way to the Canadian boundary, " replied Tom Dawson* who remembered the goat ranch well. "They all got out one night about 20 years ago and answered the call of the wild." The first day out on a mountain trail in the Many Glacier country Kenny saw goats galore. He trained his binoculars upon a high-up ledge, and there he was, a veritable reincarnation of the goat that used to haul his newspapers for him in his boyhood days. "There," said Kenny to Louis W. Hill, who was in the party, "There is a grandson of my Billy goat. I couldn't mistake that goatee. He couldn't have that unless he inherited it from my goat." That settled right there and then the problem that had been perplexing Mr. Hill, chairman of the Great Northern Railway, for a couple of years. "He's our trademark, Bill," Mr. Hill said to Kenny. "No other animal of these mountains deserves more respect and fame than this great-great-grandson of your hometown Billy goat. He certainly had a life of romance and adventure." * Tom Dawson's portrait by Reinold Weiss is in the gallery near the elevator.

Waterton - Glacier International Peace Park
Montana's Glacier National Park and Alberta's Waterton Lakes National Park meet at the border between the United States and Canada. The parks have been jointly designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The International Peace Park symbolizes the peace and goodwill between the United States and Canada as exemplified by the world's longest undefended border (8,892 km/ 5,525 miles). 
It is the world's first such park. John "Kootenai" Brown, Waterton Lakes' first park official, and Henry Reynolds, a Glacier National Park ranger (colorfully referred to as "Death-on-the-trail" because he was such a fast hiker) first proposed the idea for the park in the early 1900s. 
The following is a brief overview of it's evolution: 
In 1783, peacemakers had the difficult task of deciding where the boundary between the British colonies and the new American republic would be. They drew lines on paper over lands with which they were unfamiliar. In western North America. The British and Americans agreed to divide the countries along the 49th parallel across the prairie from Lake of the Woods in the east to the Rocky Mountains. The area on the west side of the mountains was still under dispute. This long standing border dispute was finally settled peacefully with the signing of the Oregon Treaty on June 15, 1846. The boundary was extended west along the 49th parallel, with Canada retaining Vancouver Island. As it turned out the lines drawn on paper were all skewed on the land and no one was quite sure where the 49th parallel was. 
Between 1857 and 1861, a British party lead by J.S. Hawkins and an American party lead by A. Campbell surveyed the border from the Pacific coast to Upper Waterton Lake. Between 1872 and 1874 a second British survey lead by Major D. R. Cameron and another by Campbell mapped out the boundary from Lake of the Woods westward to Upper Waterton Lake. 
Many features in the park today were named after the men involved with these surveys. Kootenay Lakes Forest Park (Waterton Lakes National Park) was established in 1895 and by 1910 Glacier had become a National Park as well. 
Henry Reynolds and John Brown felt the lake and valley could not and should not be divided. The parks shared the same geology, climate and ecology. Animal populations and local people continued to use the area in the same manner (although the Kootenay began calling Upper Waterton Lake "Lake Split In Two"). 
"The Geology recognizes no boundaries, and as the lake lay ... no man-made boundary could cleave the waters apart." 
Henry "Death-on-the-Trail" Reynolds 
"It seems advisable to greatly enlarge this park ... it might be well to have a preserve and breeding grounds in conjunction with the United States Glacier Park." 

John "Kootenai" Brown 
The idea for an International Peace Park (IPP) was taken a step further by the Cardston Rotary Club who initiated a meeting of several regional clubs from Alberta and Montana. In 1931, at the Prince of Wales Hotel, the first "annual goodwill meeting" convened to discuss the desire to foster "a worldwide International Peace Movement". The idea of establishing an International Peace Park in the Waterton/Glacier area was unanimously endorsed. Following petitions from their respective Rotary clubs, local governments approached the two federal governments on the establishment of a peace park. 
Everyone's hard work was finally rewarded with the passing of the American bill on April 25, 1932 and shortly after with the Canadian bill on June 16, 1932. Designation and celebration of the International Peace Park took place during two ceremonies. The first was held at Glacier Park Hotel, East Glacier, Mt., on June 18, 1932. The second, after some organizational problems and delays, was held at the Prince of Wales Hotel, Waterton Park, on July 4, 1936. 
Today, the International Peace Park Association (IPPA) continues its activities by promoting international goodwill through annual assemblies and promoting the idea of international peace parks elsewhere. Other examples of International Peace Parks are: Peace Arch (Blaine, Washington - Douglas, British Columbia), International Peace Garden (North Dakota - Manitoba), Campobello (New Brunswick - Maine) and Gold Rush International Park (Yukon -Alaska). 
The united parks represent the need for cooperation and stewardship in a world of shared resources. As visitors look down the Upper Waterton Valley or glance across Cameron Lake, their thoughts of awe and inspiration move freely from one mountain peak to another, and just as their thoughts move freely across the 49th -- so do the waters, the fish, the pollen, the seeds, the birds, the deer and the bears.

Robert Macfie Scriver
(1914 - 1999) Robert Macfie Scriver was born in Browning Montana, August 15, 1914. Bob grew up hearing stories of the Indian wars -- still fresh in the minds of those that told them in his father's den. Browning is in the heart of Blackfeet country, and the culture and the essence of the West was in every breath he took. Bob Scriver lived most of his life in Browning, with the exception of post-graduate studies in Chicago, Illinois in 1941, and his military service where he was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Corps, Alaskan Division. He was honorably discharged on Nov. 7, 1945. Scriver taught in Browning Public Schools during the 1930's. When he returned to Montana, he was Music Supervisor, and a teacher of social studies from 1946-1950. Scriver began his taxidermy career in 1951. In 1956 he began construction on Scriver Museum of Montana Wildlife. Working as a taxidermist led to a great understanding of animal anatomy, and sparked his interest in sculpting. He began his art career in 1956. Scriver found his inspiration on the land he loved, in air he breathed, and the friends he made -- both Cowboys and Indians. He researched his projects in depth, and he studied many aspects of his subjects before composing in clay and bronze. He was a three dimensional historian for a place and time that is no more. His pieces depicting the life style of the Blackfeet Indians, and cowboys are in some of the finest private collections and Museums in the world. Scriver's bronzes are next to Russell's and Remington's in prestigious museums like the C.M. Russell, The Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Whitney Gallery, and Buffalo Bill Historical Center, to name just a few. Bob Scriver's works were printed in magazines like National Geographic, and LaRevue Moderne in Paris, France. He exhibited in Monte Carlo, Monaco, and had a one man show of his Rodeo Series at the Calgary Stampede. Scriver was an avid collector of the major works of the Glacier National Park artists, and amassed an impressive assemblage of paintings, sculptures, and Native American artifacts which has been generously redistributed since his death in 1999. Lorrain Scriver, Bob's widow, gave the Montana Historical Society Museum his artist's copy collection. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in Missoula is building a new visitors center that will house mounts that were previously at Scriver's Montana Wildlife Museum in Browning. The Provincial Museum of Alberta is also expanding its exhibit space for Scriver's Blackfeet series and other bronzes. Scriver was a member of the National Sculpting Society, The National Academy of Western Artists (NAWA), The Cowboy Artists of America (CA), The Society of Animal Artists, The Salamagundi Club, and The International Art Guild.

Lee Kerr (1863 - 1939) Lee Kerr was born in Freeport, Ohio in 1863. He lived in Helena, Montana in 1885 for awhile, and then moved to the Flathead Valley, establishing a homestead twelve miles northwest of present-day Kalispell. He worked as a carpenter in Columbia Falls and Kalispell, and organized the Kalispell-Kelvin Oil Company. He was an amateur artist in the best sense of the word; "painting wholly for his own amusement, effectively placing his lingering vision of the old west on canvas" according to a contemporary article from a Kalispell newspaper. "he has in his home on the west side, many western pictures that might have been the product of a well trained artist, so outstanding and realistic is his work." The Montana Historical Society recognized Lee Kerr's talent when it received his painting The Bull Team into it's collection. Harry Stanford, an associate of Charlie Russell, finally overcame Kerr's retiring disposition, and convinced him to present it at a Fish and Game Commission meeting in 1932. The Montana Historical Society's Librarian, David Hilger, wrote a thank you note to Kerr: "...not only for it's value as a painting, but also for representing a scene which has passed out of our history. I crossed the plains as a lad in such an outfit. The details are all correct, which is of importance in representing a thing of the past, and everyone who has viewed the picture has been favorably impressed." Lee Kerr passed away seven years later in Kalispell, Montana in 1939.

Carl Rungius (1869-1959) During his lifetime, artist Carl Rungius enjoyed a reputation similar to that of Frederic Remington. Interest in his depictions of the wildlife and landscapes of the West declined following his death. Rungius was the first career wildlife artist on this continent. He spent his life studying and depicting North America's wide-open spaces and the creatures that inhabit them. He created the images that often come to mind when we think of "wilderness." Well-known wildlife artists such as Robert Bateman acknowledge his influence. Born in Berlin, Germany in 1869, Carl Rungius took a serious interest in drawing, the outdoors, and animals at an early age. Rungius was trained at the Berlin Art School, the Academy of Fine Arts, and the School of Applied Arts in Berlin. Invited by an uncle to take a hunting trip to Maine in 1894, he got his first look at America and stayed on to spend the following summer hunting in Wyoming. After a brief return to Germany, where realizing that his enthusiasm for the wilder landscape and big game in America was too powerful to ignore, Carl moved to Long Island, New York in 1897. The artist maintained a studio there until 1910, though he spent his summers hunting and drawing, primarily in New Brunswick and Wyoming. One summer was spent in the Yukon. Rungius moved his studio into New York City, interacting extensively for the first time with well-known artists of the day. He also made his first visit to Alberta that year. He returned annually to Alberta, and he and his wife built a studio in Banff in 1921. He lived and painted in Banff every summer thereafter until 1958. Rungius was a great naturalist, a fine draftsman and an anatomist with thorough knowledge of musculature and bone structure. In many of his paintings he achieved the feeling of rotating movement so common to animals in a herd. His sense of color was also well developed and he used it boldly or with much subtlety, as the situation warranted. Rungius received many honors and prizes. One of his admirers was Theodore Roosevelt, who was also a personal friend. He traveled from Arizona to Alaska, hunting, sketching and painting. During these extensive travels, he also became friends with many frontier people and did a series of oil paintings depicting their life. These works, of which not many were completed, are much sought after, for their accuracy and sense of spontaneity. The Glenbow Foundation in Calgary, Alberta maintains his Rockies' studio as a museum and as a tribute to the work of this fine artist. The National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming serves as the greatest depository of his works outside of Canada.

Guy Wiggins (1883-1962) Guy Carleton Wiggins was born in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1883, and started his education there at his father's art school. Wiggins initially took a job with the government, working with the Foreign Service, and painting wherever he was stationed. Retiring early from his post, Wiggins entered the Art Students League in New York, and spent time studying in the artist's colony of Old Lyme. Wiggins is best remembered for his pure Impressionist paintings featuring snow falling in New York City, and for his delicate landscapes. He received early training as an architectural draftsman at the Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn, New York, but eventually studied art at the National Academy of Design under William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri. At age twenty, he was the youngest American artist to have a work accepted for the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Prior to the onset of World War I, Wiggins painted the local scenery of the English countryside. It was there he met his wife Dorothy Stuart Johnson. The couple returned to the States and set up their home in Connecticut. He established a year-round art school, the Guy Wiggins Art School, in Essex. Included among the many awards that Wiggins received was the prestigious Norman Waite Harris Bronze Medal from the Art Institute of Chicago. He won a prize from the Rhode Island School of Design, and received awards from the Salamagundi Club in New York. 
The Wiggins name is associated with three generations of artists, his father Carleton Wiggins and his son Guy A Wiggins were both well-regarded artists. Guy developed a style that incorporated the color and techniques of French Impressionism along with emerging American concepts. Wiggins' unique style and abilities brought him early acclaim, and throughout his life he strove to maintain the integrity and independence of his style. According to Adrienne L. Walt from American Art Review, in a 1977 article, "his resolution was to constantly emphasize color, elevating it above all else and achieving luminosity through it ." Wiggins died in 1962 while on vacation in Florida and was buried in Old Lyme, Connecticut. His paintings are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Brooklyn Institute of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Reading Museum of Fine Arts, the Wadsworth Athenaeum, and two of his works hang in the White House. He painted a vivid "Snow Capped Mountains -- Lake Josephine" while on vacation that hangs in our exhibit.

Leonard Lopp
Leonard Lopp (1888 - 1974) Henry Leonard Lopp was born May 1, 1888, near Highmore, South Dakota. Lopp was raised on a cattle ranch and attended nearby Canton and Elk Point schools where he showed early signs of artistic talent by drawing everything around him. Later he studied art under Prof. P.J. Rennings at Union College, Lincoln, Nebraska, and privately with Prof. John Updyke and Robert Wood. On July 1, 1918, he was married to Margaret Booth of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Together they painted and traveled over much of the U.S., Canada and Alaska. During much of the '20's Lopp was staff artist for the Hudson's Bay Company of Canada and exhibited from Winnipeg west to Vancouver. Contracts with the Elks and Moose Lodges took them north to Alaska for several summers. In 1928 they established art studios and a home for his parents at Seaside and Portland, Oregon. The depression forced the closing of the galleries and a move to Great Falls, Montana, in 1936. Lopp was appointed staff artist for the Glacier National Park Company, exhibiting every summer at Many Glacier Hotel until 1941 and again in 1960. In 1944, Lopp designed and built the lodge on the west shore of Flathead Lake. He handpicked every log in the chalet from standing timber. This home became a center for the arts and a favorite stopping place for their many friends and fellow artists such as Roland Gissing of Canada, Red Skelton, and Dave Rubinoff, a musician. National art recognition was achieved in 1941 when Lopp was invited to New York for the one-man show at the Milch Gallery and a concurrent showing at the Metropolitan. During their two-month stay in New York, they were the guests of geologist and glacier specialist Dr. and Mrs. Jim Dyson of Yale University with whom the Lopps had spent many days hiking on the trails in Glacier Park. Additional showings followed at the Pressmen's club in Spokane in 1951, and the Premier Award, Fine Arts Department of the Montana State Fair at Great Falls in 1961. Major commissions were from former President Harry S. Truman for the Museum at Independence, Missouri; FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover; the Lions International President; the restoration of several C.M. Russell paintings in Great Falls; and collections for the Conrad National Bank of Kalispell and the Bank of Idaho at Boise. Failing health and age forced a move to Kalispell where he passed away in 1974. His passion for the beauty of Glacier Park and his ability to record it on canvas has secured a permanent position as one of the great artists of Montana and the West.

Hockaday Museum of Art
302 Second Ave. East, Kalispell, Montana, 59901

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