|Title||FRENCH HALF-BREED, A|
|Artist||Russell, Charles M. (1864-1926)|
|Dimensions||H-14.5 W-10.625 inches|
|Medium||Pen and Ink|
In 1901 Russell drafted a series of sixteen character sketches that have collectively become known as his "Western Types." Each features a full-scale portrait of a single, prototypical Westerner, augmented with a much smaller vignette executed beneath it to help provide context for that "type." Fourteen of the characters portrayed were men; the two females depicted were both Native American.
Métis are mixed-blood descendants of European-especially French and Scottish-men and Native American women who, over time, developed a distinct culture and language that combined features of both their Indian and non-Indian heritage.This drawing depicts a Métis man wearing a heavily embroidered buckskin shirt that is secured at the waist with a traditional Métis sash (the same type of sash always worn by Russell). The vignette depicts another item that, like the sash, is closely associated with Métis-the Red River cart. Red River carts were two-wheeled vehicles made of wood lashed together with bison hide and sinew. Their large wheels suited them well for pulling over rough terrain, but the wooden wheels rubbing against the wooden axle (usually made from an unpeeled log) produced an incredible screech that could be heard for miles.