In 1892 at the age of 14, Olaf Carl (O.C.) Seltzer (1877–1957) emigrated with his mother from Scandinavia to Giant Springs, Montana near Great Falls. It was a new world for the young Dane who, instead of being surrounded by the shoreline, was engulfed by a landscape of expansive prairies. Embracing the American West, Seltzer became passionate about documenting western culture through his prolific painting.

It is this pursuit that ties him most closely to cowboy artist Charles Russell who likewise was inspired to paint the West that had passed. Russell had lived as a cowboy twenty years prior, and both he and Seltzer were driven to bring the West to life through their art. Though both painted similar subject matter, each artist had his own distinct style. O.C. Seltzer leaves behind thousands of examples of his meticulous work that provides a unique perspective on an American West in transition and an artist’s nostalgia for a bygone era.

On display at the C. M. Russell Museum, O.C. Seltzer’s West examines Seltzer’s early life, and experiences explore his maturation as an artist on the Northern Plains of Montana and his friendship with Russell and celebrate a number of his major works that now reside in private and public collections.

Now – January 5, 2020

C.M. Russell Museum | 400 13th Street North, Great Falls, Montana