Etching titled in pencil in lower left margin "Willow Creek Country", numbered 4/40 at center, and finally signed in pencil at lower right, by the noted Montana artist BRANSON STEVENSON (1901-1989). It measures 5" by 8" inside the tight mat opening, and 15 1/2" by 17 1/2" framed. Stevenson is a well regarded artist in the state, with a long history in painting, drawing, the graphic arts, sculpture, and administration. Born in Georgia, he received some early art education in Panama, where his father was working on the Canal construction. He followed his brother, who had an early Studebaker distributorship, to central Montana. There, in the 1920's, he did some advertising illustration, and was noticed by Charlie Russell. By 1923 he had struck up a friendship with Russell's apprentice, Joe DeYong, and in that year he and DeYong discussed etching. Stevenson worked in the oil business, on and off, through mid century (ultimately retiring from Mobil in 1960); apparently he was not solely dependent upon his art when it came to making a living. In 1947, ever experimenting, he explored pottery. Stevenson was a founding member of the Montana Institute of Arts in 1948, and Chairman of the Board at the Charles Russell Art Gallery in 1953. Stevenson in the course of his life was a member of the Society of American Etchers, and the Brooklyn Society of Etchers. Today his works are included in the collections of the Charles Russell Museum in Great Falls, the Montana Historical Society in Helena, and the University of Oregon at Eugene. This print appears to be clean and fresh (not examined out of frame). I would suggest discarding the old non-glare glass, through which the photos were taken, as it dulls detail. Found in the Idaho panhandle in the old silver mining town of Wallace.
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