Great Falls

Dec 10, 2011 10:06 PM by Kay Rossi (Great Falls)

Artist Brian Morger unveils Walter Breuning portrait

Famed Montana artist Brian Morger unveiled two new paintings on Saturday at the Rainbow Assisted Living facility in Great Falls.

One of the paintings celebrates the life of one of the Rainbow's - and Great Falls' - most famous residents, Walter Breuning.

Breuning was officially listed as the oldest living man in the world; he held the title for nearly two years, until he passed away in April 2011, just weeks after Morger began working on the painting.

The other painting that was unveiled on Saturday is called "The Long Goodbye," and it puts the spotlight on Shep, a dog that showed up at the Fort Benton train station in 1936 looking for his owner.

Shep greeted passengers daily looking for his owner; he continued to do this until January 12th, 1942 when he was run over by a train. Morger noted, "His burial was held at the Fort Benton station and he was buried on top of the hill overlooking the station...the burial site is still there."

Morger, born and raised in Fort Benton, has been painting since the age of 12 and has always had a fascination with the unique bond between man and man's best friend, so this painting took on a special meaning for the artist.

Morger explained, "This one is emotional...this has to do with the story of loyalty and the love that is expressed between man and dog that is still not understood completely...why is the dog such a loving companion of mankind?"

"The Long Goodbye" took 11 months to paint and Morger spent several months researching and looking at old photographs for inspiration.

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