JERRY GOROSKI is the consultant appraisar to whom I refer inquiries about Scriver bronzes. He is formally trained and certified to do assessments and knew Bob Scriver as well as working for the CM Russell Museum in Great Falls. His gallery is called "Open Range Art."


Wednesday, May 06, 2015


It didn't take long for renowned sculptor Robert Scriver to zero in on his third wife's literary talents.


It didn't take long for renowned sculptor Robert Scriver to zero in on his third wife's literary talents.
Shortly after the two met at Montana's Blackfeet reservation in 1961, he had the future Mary Strachan Scriver pegged as his biographer.
He wanted her to start immediately. Instead, she waited 47 years.
"He was too bossy," says Strachan Scriver, who divorced the artist in 1973. "He asked other people, but was too bossy with them, as well, and they would get mad. In 1998 he started writing it himself."
Scriver passed away in 1999, leaving behind unfinished memoirs and a reputation as a pioneer of the oft-maligned "cowboy art" movement.
Bronze Inside and Out: A Biographical Memoir of Bob Scriver (University of Calgary Press, 371 Pages) brings both an academic and personal perspective to Scriver's work, tracing his development at the Blackfeet reservation from virtual unknown to world-class sculptor whose bronze, western-themed statues can be found in art galleries and museums throughout the U.S. and Canada. Strachan Scriver, who now lives just outside the reservation in Valier, Mon., did time as both a dog catcher and Unitarian minister after leaving her husband. In the early 1960s, she went to Calgary's Glenbow Museum with Scriver to sell some of the artist's early pieces. She returns for a talk on Tuesday morning.
Q: What motivates you to write?
A: I can't help it, I just do it. I came to Browning, Mont. in 1961 to teach high school English and I met up with Bob Scriver. He wanted me to write his life story, but he had just started his career so I had to wait. . . . I never lost my grip on Bob Scriver and what he was up to. He was a fascinating guy. It was easy to get addicted. I would call him every now and then (after the divorce). It would drive his fourth wife crazy.
Q: The structure of the book is interesting. Why did you structure the book after the stages of making a bronze sculpture?
A: It's a complicated process and really one of the central things that Bob and I did together. There was this idea at the time that if you had a sculpture it's just a thing. If you make it into a bronze, then it's a bronze and really important. All of sudden, he really wanted to get all his work done in bronze.
Q: In the foreword, Brian Dippie writes that the Western Art movement is "Shunned, ignored, disdained." Was part of your motivation in writing this book to improve the reputation of the genre?
A: Everybody's first impression about Western Art is (legendary American artist) Charles Russell. But there was a whole school of artists trained in Paris who worked back east. It was really people like (American sculptor) Malvina Hoffman who Bob liked. He wanted to be like her and wanted to work like her. That work is still very important.
Q: Bob Scriver didn't start working in bronze until late in life. How did he feel about the fame and renown he eventually earned?
A: (Laughing) He thought he was entitled to it -- that he earned it fair and square. But it was hard to make him do the stuff he was supposed to do. The Cowboy Artists of America (a group founded in 1965 to promote western artists) could never make Bob behave. They wanted him to hang out and show off on his horse and he wanted to stay in Browning and work.
Q: What do you think he would have thought of Bronze Inside and Out?
A: It would have made him mad. There are some things in there that he didn't want people to know. But he would have been glad there was finally a book. When I first took this to another publisher, I was told 'you have to take out the women and hunting stories.' I said, 'If you take that out there wouldn't be any of Bob left.' "

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