- Russ Ramsey
Getting to Know Frederic Remington
For this Art Wednesday we’ll look at the work of the American painter/sculptor, Frederic Remington. Remington focused his work on scenes depicting the American west—cavalry, cowboys, and Indians.
Frederic Remington, A Dash for the Timber, 1889
Remington lived from 1861-1909. He died at the age of 48 of complications from an emergency appendectomy. He weighed close to 300 pounds at the time of his death.
Frederic, Remington, The Stampede; Horse Thieves, 1909
As a young man, Remington was hired by Harper’s Weekly to work as an artist correspondent covering the US campaign against Geronimo. He used this time to gather artifacts he would use as props for his paintings.
Frederic Remington, The Lookout, 1887
On assignment with Harper’s, Remington made notes on the colors he saw. He wanted to capture what was true, not what he imagined. For example, he wrote, “shadows of horses should be a cool carmine and blue.”
Frederic Remington, Aiding a Comrade, 1890
Remington’s work as an artist correspondent led to a gig as an illustrator. He made decent money as a commercial artist, and landed a job illustrating a book by Theodore Roosevelt.
Frederic Remington, Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail Cover
Remington was regarded by many back in New York City as their best connection to the Wild West. He played the role of expert cowboy. Myth surrounded his reputation, and he promoted the myths.
Frederic Remington, Shotgun Hospitality, 1908
Ironically, Remington’s fame as a cowboy led to invitations to travel west to paint works for military officials. In the process, the access he was given to life in the west made him a true expert of the west.
Frederic Remington, The Smoke Signal, 1905
Along with his painting, Remington was also a master sculptor. This piece was my introduction to his work. I saw it in High School. For me, it captures a wildness and danger, but also a strange kind of harmony.
Frederic Remington, Bronco Buster, 1895
I struggle with the biases and injustices I see in much of Remington’s work. But as a craftsman, his art has inspired countless others who’ve sought to capture the beauty of the American west.