“I paint the West–the West that I know and love. I try to capture western scenes that people can enjoy and live with.” These were the words of Montana’s own western artist, Cyrus V. (Sandy) Ingersoll.
His family was among the original settlers that came to Montana when it was a territory. Sandy’s grandfather was an early Helena physician and his father drove stagecoach. As a child, Ingersoll spent much time listening to the tales of the “old timers” his family knew. These people were special to young Sandy; after all, they were the people who had converted Montana from wilderness to civilization. He remembered them and their stories. When he was old enough, Sandy worked for several cattle outfits. He did about every job associated with such operations and gained a real feeling for the cowboy’s life. Ingersoll later settled down on his own place. These many experiences left him with a wealth of knowledge about the West. This is the knowledge that aided him in his art.
As an artist, one of Sandy’s main interests was the horse. He had been “on em, over em and under me.” (And sometimes not in a graceful manner!) He had ridden the “wild range” stock as well as the “well-broke” ones. Sandy had been an artist most of his life and had worked at it full time since 1962. During his younger years, he was fortunate enough to study under the famed O. C. Seltzer of Great Falls. Mr. Ingersoll recalled that he was about the only student old “OC” had. “OC” didn’t particularly like to teach and was hard to get along with. But Sandy stuck to it and learned a great deal. From this teacher he learned to finish a painting and once this was accomplished his art really began to sell.
Ingersoll worked not only in oils but also in watercolors and etchings. Etching, he did later in life and it was a new addition to his artistic output. Mr. Ingersoll was a stickler for detail. He recorded his subject matter as accurately as possible, researching quite heavily any points not totally familiar to him.