Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author. While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.
Frederick Remington Preserving the Old West
Studio portrait of the young Remington, looking forlorn; photo by Dow Studios, Ogdensburg, New York Ca. 1874
Beginning • Frederic Remington was born in Canton, New York. • Attended the Yale School of Art, where he studied drawing and played football.
Early Years • When he was twenty years old, he traveled west for a vacation and mailed a rough sketch to Harper’s Weekly magazine, kicking off his career as an illustrator. • He had tried his hand at sheep ranching in Kansas, but after a couple of years returned to New York, making trips west from his home base in the East. Most of his work was created in his studio in New Rochelle, New York. Harper's Weekly, September 17, 1887 "Burning the Range"
Accomplishments Illustration Remington took many photos on his trips West in order to create accurate drawings when he returned home to New York. • Remington made his name as an illustrator, mostly of western and military subjects, for most of the widely circulated magazines of the late 1880s and 1890s. Among the magazines he illustrated were Harper’s Weekly, Harper’s Monthly, Century, Collier’s, Outing, Boys’ Life, and Cosmopolitan. He remains most closely associated with depictions of the old West. • He created most of the art for reproduction in books and magazines using black and white media: pen and ink, ink wash and gouache, and black and white oil. • His magazine work also included self-assigned reporting missions, which resulted in many articles both written and illustrated by Frederic Remington. Photo of a stagecoach entering a western town, ca .1888
Accomplishments Writing Remington was unafraid of writing, and specialized in tales of high adventure in the West. His magazine articles were collected into books, and he published works of fiction as well, amounting to eight books in all. At work in his summer studio at Ingleneuk Island, ca. 1901.
Accomplishments PAINTINGS • Remington traveled west many times to report for magazines and to accumulate photographs, make sketches and buy props for his studio. This enabled him to create accurate details and gain inspiration each day in the comfort of his studio. Painting The Indian Trapper in his New York Studio, ca. 1889
Accomplishments Bronzes • In 1895 Remington began to make sculptures, producing 22 different subjects. He worked in clay. His clay models were cast in bronze at art foundries. His first four subjects were cast using the sand casting method at the Henry-Bonnard Co. In 1898 he began working exclusively with Roman Bronze Works, N.Y., which employed the lost wax casting method. For an accounting of legitimate bronze casts and their whereabouts, see Icons of the West: Frederic Remington’s Sculpture by Michael D. Greenbaum, published in 1996 by the Frederic Remington Art Museum. Remington working on the clay model of The Buffalo Horse in his New Rochelle, New York studio. 1907
The Cowboy, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, shortly after its completion. Remington’s only monumental statue.
Legacy Beneath leaden skies of gunmetal gray, two cowboys have halted their horses in a bleak wintry landscape. One of them has dismounted to remove the rails of a fence gate so they can pass through. The whole scene is infused with the slow rhythms and somber tones of an elegy; a lament for something that has gone forever. Remington, like his friend Theodore Roosevelt, also a great popularizer of the West in this period, viewed the cowboy as the last great figure of America’s frontier history; hardy and self reliant, but doomed to extinction in the wake of civilization’s steady progress. This mythic image was soon to be immortalized in the pages of Owen Wister’s The Virginian, published to wide acclaim in 1902—arguably the first western novel. The Fall of the Cowboy, 1895 Oil on canvasAmon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, 1961.230
Photograph of the artist, courtesy Frederic Remington Art Museum, Ogdensburg, New York Remington felt compelled to record an American West that he believed to be disappearing. He loved to portray the action and energy of the West
The Bronco Buster, 1895 • bronze • 26 in. x 19 in. x 14 in. He made 24 sculptures in his last 14 years as an artist. Remington liked the permanence of bronze sculpture: “My water colors will fade—but I am to endure in bronze,” he said.
Your Turn The following slides are photographs and paintings by Frederick Remington, unless otherwise stated. Look and think about what the images are telling you about the “Old West.”
"Where we shine." Cowboys at the end of an 1897 roundup in Ward County, Texas, pose with their herd of almost 2,000 cattle. By this time, barbed wire had closed down the long cattle trails for nearly two decades. Photographed by F. M. Steele.
Theodore Roosevelt on horseback in the Dakota Territory in the 1880's, when he had moved west to live as a cattle rancher.
Sunset on the Plains, 1905–1906, West Point Museum Collection, United States Military Academy Though he continued to study the night sky and to experiment with color, Remington remained unsatisfied with the results of his efforts. It was not until June 1908 that he was able to write in his diary that he had finally discovered “how to do the silver sheen of moonlight.”
The Hunters' Supper (detail),c. 1909, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Remington's nocturnes are filled with color and light—moonlight, firelight, and candlelight. These complex paintings testify to the artist's interest in modern technological innovations, including flash photography and the advent of electricity, which was rapidly transforming the character of night.
The Stampede by Lightning, 1908, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma What do you see? Describe the colors, the action, the setting and the subjects.
The Stampede by Lightning, 1908, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma There are two cowboys trying to gather a group of runaway cows that were frightened by lightning. A single bolt of lightning can be seen in the upper-right hand corner of the painting.
The Stampede by Lightning, 1908, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma This is a monochromatic painting, using tints and shades of green. These colors create a rain-like effect in the painting, adding to the viewer’s understanding of the harshness of the conditions. Green is often an eerie color, and in this painting it represents the strange light during a thunderstorm, as well as the expressive quality of the fear of the stampede.
The Stampede by Lightning, 1908, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma There are some yellow-greens in the painting, but they are a small part of the overall painting. They create the little moments of light during the storm.
Compare Rosa Bonheur (French, 1822–1899)Oil on canvas 96 1/4 x 199 1/2 in. (244.5 x 506.7 cm)Signed and dated (lower right): Rosa Bonheur 1853.5Gift of Cornelius Vanderbilt, 1887 (87.25)
Mount and Day Herd Date c1905 Horses, cowboys, and cattle, surrounding water hole. Library of Congress Photo by F.M. Steele. Compare