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Art, Portrait, Oil, Native American, O.C. Seltzer, Antique, Early 20th Century, 1194


Occasionally, all of our eyes-peeled hunting (and Cheryl’s vast knowledge of artwork and artifacts) results in a once-in-a-lifetime find, like this O.C. Seltzer original. The renowned painter was the mentee and dear friend of widely revered artist Charles M. Russell. This intricate antique portrait is an oil-on-board painting of a Native American, one of Seltzer’s preferred subjects, in an ornate gilt frame. On the smaller side, what the portrait lacks in size, it makes up for in substance and significance, this is an excellent antique investment piece for the true collector.

O.C. seltzer was born in Copenhagen and began his training as an artist at the age of twelve. However, his schooling was cut short by the death of his family and the subsequent move of his mother to Great Falls, Montana in 1892. There he found work as a cowboy and machinist for the railroad. A few years later, he met Charles M. Russell, and the two became lifelong friends. The frequently took painting trips together, visited each other in their studios, and critiqued on another's work. Both artists chose to paint the Indians and cowboys on Montana. 

Seltzer's work is often compared with that of his friend and mentor, Russell. So similar were their styles, that the work of Seltzer is frequently attributed to Russell. While many critics have found Seltzer's work to be the lesser of the two cowboy artists, Russell himself said that painting with Seltzer had greatly influenced his art in terms of color and values. Like Russell, Seltzer pained in both oils and water solubles, and also like Russell, his greatest skill as an artist is perhaps best represented in his watercolors and gouaches.

  • artist: Olaf Carl Seltzer, 1877-1957
  • affiliation: Danish/American
  • hallmarks: O. C. Seltzer (signed lower left)
  • materials: oil on board, gilt frame
  • dimensions: 6" x 8 1/4"
  • broken piece on frame
  • style number: ART-1194

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