New exhibit highlights early 20th Century Montana portrait artist

Posted at 1:00 PM, Sep 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-07 14:09:17-04

HELENA – The Montana Historical Society has unveiled its latest exhibit which highlights the portraits of Joe Scheuerle.

Starting in 1909, Scheuerle visited Indian reservations in Montana and across the west, painting portraits that he said were done “honestly” and “on the spot.” He did not work from photographs. Throughout his lifetime, Scheuerle created more than 200 portraits, often providing insight about his subjects on the back of the painting.

“We have quite a few that show the remarkable work that he did on both sides. The incredible gouache watercolor portrait on one side and then the whimsical commentary on the back that would chronicle what was happening right then and there with the people he was painting,” Senior Curator Jennifer Bottomly-O’looney explained. “That’s sort of an unusual archive to have.”

Bottomly-O’looney says Scheuerle never sold his work since he viewed the pieces as portraits of friends. She says those he profiled did stay his friends and they often visited him. Scheuerle made his living as a commercial artist and created several of the iconic images associated with Glacier National Park.

The Joe Scheuerle exhibit will be on display until December of 2019.

You can get free admission to the Montana Historical Society Museum this Saturday, Sept. 8th and see the new exhibit for free. “Second Saturday” also includes free admission to the Original Governor’s Mansion.

-Melissa Jensen reporting for MTN News