Returning home: Sharp painting bought by Bair Family Trust, will remain in Montana

Elizabeth Guheen had no idea if the plan she and the Bair Family Trust had set in motion would work. But as the hammer struck and the bid of $350,000 was accepted on Lot 126 at the Coeur d’Alene Art Auction last weekend in Reno, her phone started dinging with text messages.

“The Young Chief,” painted in 1905 by Joseph Henry Sharp, would return home.

“The Young Chief,” by Joseph Henry Sharp, was painted in 1905 and gifted to the Billings Chamber of Commerce in 1915 by Charles Bair, a friend of the artist. The painting was sold at auction in July and will stay in Montana.

Courtesy of Coeur d’Alene Art Auction

“The elation I felt when it happened, it’s hard for me to find words for,” said Guheen, director and chief curator for the Bair Family Museum in Martinsdale. “We kept it in Montana — that was our goal.”

Soon, visitors to the museum in central Montana will be able to see a signature painting of an Apsáalooke family at their encampment by the renowned western artist, painted during the

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