American West. Frederic Remington. Everything You Should Know About Indians And Cowboys in Art

American West. Frederic Remington. Everything You Should Know About Indians And Cowboys in Art
Isabel del Rio
American West. Frederic Remington. Everything You Should Know About Indians And Cowboys in Art

Remington’s A Dash for the Timber

American West. Frederic Remington Artist. Everything You Should Know About Indians And Cowboys in Art.

1.- Frederic Remington was an American painter, illustrator, sculptor, and writer. He was specialized in depictions of the Old American West (cowboys, American Indians, and the U. S. Cavalry).

2.- He was born on October 4, 1861, in Canton, New York. Afterwards, his family moved to Ogdensburg, New York, when Remington was eleven and he attended Vermont Episcopal Institute, a church-run military school that he disliked: “I never intend to do any great amount of labor. I have but one short life and do not aspire to wealth or fame in a degree which could only be obtained by an extraordinary effort on my part”. In fact, he imagined a career for himself as a journalist, with art as a sideline, because he liked to make funny caricatures and silhouettes.

3.- Frederic Remington was related by family bloodlines to Indian portrait artist George Catlin (the first person to visually record Plains Indians in their native territory) and cowboy sculptor Earl W. Bascom (he portrayed his own experiences cowboying and rodeoing across the American and Canadian West).

Aiding a Comrade, 1890, by Frederic Remington

Aiding a Comrade, 1890, by Frederic Remington

4.- Remington attended the art school at Yale University, studying under John Henry Niemeyer. His first published illustration was a cartoon of a “bandaged football player” for the student newspaper Yale Courant.

5.- His father died at age fifty. Then, living off his inheritance and modest work income, Remington refused to go back to art school and instead spent time camping and enjoying himself. At nineteen, he made his first trip west, going to Montana. He saw the vast prairies, the buffalo herds, the still unfenced cattle, and the confrontations of U.S. Cavalry and native American tribes.

6.- He opened a unsuccessful saloon in Kansas City, where he sketched and painted. He soon had enough success selling his paintings to locals to see art as a real profession. He returned to New York and his first full page cover under his own name appeared in Harper’s Weekly on January 9, 1886, when he was twenty-five. A success! Remington was able to pursue his art career.

“I knew the wild riders and the vacant land were about to vanish forever… and the more I considered the subject, the bigger the forever loomed. Without knowing how to do it, I began to record some facts around me, and the more I looked the more the panorama unfolded.” Frederic Remington.

7.- In 1886, Remington was sent to Arizona by Harper’s Weekly on a commission as an artist-correspondent to cover the government’s war against Geronimo. Afterwards, to cover the Charleston, South Carolina earthquake. A trip to Canada in 1887, produced illustrations of the Blackfoot, the Crow Nation, and the Canadian Mounties… He was an “expert” on the West.

The Drawing of the Black Bean, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, by Frederic Remington

The Drawing of the Black Bean, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, by Frederic Remington

8.- In 1889, Harper’s Weekly published: “He draws what he knows, and he knows what he draws.” His first one-man show, in 1890, presented twenty-one paintings at the American Art Galleries and was very well received.

9. – In 1890, Remington and his wife, Eva Caten, moved to New Rochelle, New York. He was a successful artist! Remington’s fame made him a favorite of the Western Army officers fighting the last Indian battles. Through the 1890s, Remington took frequent trips around the U.S., Mexico, and abroad to gather ideas for articles and illustrations, but his military and cowboy subjects always sold the best, even as the Old West was playing out.

10. Remington was the most successful Western artist in the “Golden Age” of illustration at the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century. His style was naturalistic, sometimes impressionistic, and usually postromantic (A descendant of the Hudson River School), who glorified the vastness of the West and the dominance of nature over man.

American West. Frederic Remington. Everything You Should Know About Indians And Cowboys in Art

The Emigrants by Frederic Remington

Enjoy your day, Yareah friends. Art is everywhere and up to you!

“Art is a she-devil of a mistress, and if at times in earlier days she would not even stoop to my way of thinking, I have persevered and will so continue.” Frederic Remington.

Video: Laura A. Foster at Frederic Remington Art Museum.

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Isabel del Rio

Managing Editor at Yareah® Magazine. Author of ‘Ariza’ (2008) and ‘The Girls of Oil’ (2010)

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