December 13, 2018

Joe Scheuerle and His Remarkable Indian Gallery

by Jennifer Bottomly-O'Looney, MHS Museum Senior Curator


Joe Scheuerle and His Remarkable Indian Gallery—which opened in the Montana Historical Society’s Lobby Gallery on September 6—features the remarkable work of portraitist Joseph G. Scheuerle (1873–1948). Helena’s Magpie Drummers and Dancers provided entertainment for this special opening, which was generously sponsored by the Montana Bankers Association Education Foundation.

Image by Tom Ferris, MHS Photographer
 Born in Austria to German parents, Scheuerle, at ten years of age, moved with his family to Ohio, where he eventually studied at the Cincinnati Art Academy. Beginning in 1909, he made many visits to Indian reservations in Montana and across the West, where he produced exceptional portraits that were, in his own words, “all finished and done honestly and carefully from life and on the spot.” Throughout his career he created more than two hundred portraits, and established close friendships and rapport with his models. 


Image by Tom Ferris, MHS Photographer
In addition to the carefully finished portraits, Scheuerle often provided fascinating, whimsical sketches and commentary on the back of the canvases. Today, these provide invaluable insight into the lives of the people he was painting. Through the master craftsmanship of MHS preparator Todd Saarinen, many of the works in the exhibit are displayed so that both sides can be seen. Joe Scheuerle and His Remarkable Indian Gallery is scheduled to run through December 2019. 


Image by Tom Ferris, MHS Photographer
Joe Scheuerle and His Remarkable Indian Gallery is made possible through generous donations of the artist’s work from Joe Scheuerle’s grandson Bill Grierson and his wife Pat, and from collectors Alfred K. Nippert Jr. and Kathye H. Nippert,, who traveled from Ohio to attend the opening.

Image by Tom Ferris, MHS Photographer












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