YouTube video - Remington Biography [interesting biography] (4:18 min.)
People’s ideas of what the Old West was like are partly due to our artist of the week, Frederick Remington. He specialized in painting, drawing, and sculpting cowboys, American Indians, and the U.S. Cavalry, particularly scenes from the last of the 19th century. When you think of artists who painted the Old West, American Frederick Remington is the most well-known. Our painting of the week is A Cold Morning on the Range.
A Cold Morning on the Range by Remington
Remington as an illustrator
Frederick Remington was born in New York and lived and went to school in the east. When he was nineteen, he attempted a business venture out west to Montana. Nothing came of his business plans, but he was fascinated by the sights of the Old West. He saw the wide prairies, and the buffalo and ranging cattle.
He hunted grizzly bears and encountered members of the U.S. Cavalry and native American tribes. The experiences and sights helped Remington become an authentic painter of the Old West. The days of the Old West were ending, but interest back in the eastern part of the United States was growing.
Remington filled that interest as a reporter/illustrator. Similar to our previous artist of the week, Norman Rockwell, Remington did many magazine illustrations.
He also received a commission to do eighty-three illustrations for a book by Theodore Roosevelt, Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail. The assignment gave Remington's career a big boost and forged a lifelong connection with Roosevelt, who later became a President.
Remington - Painter of the West
Frederick Remington focused as a painter on the people and animals of the Old West. This was different from a previous artist of the week we studied who painted during the same time period as Remington.
Mount Corcoran by Bierstadt
Albrecht Bierstadt’s paintings stressed scenes of the outdoors – landscapes -- while Remington featured people.
Lt. S.C. Robertson by Remington
U.S. Cavalry officers wanted Remington to paint their portraits and to write about their actions in the field so people in the eastern United States would learn about them.
Besides the cavalry, Remington drew or painted many native Americans, cowboys, and horses.
Remington was one of the first American artists to draw the true gait of the horse in motion. Before, artists usually showed horses running with all four legs pointing out. Other Western artists began copying his more correct way of drawing horses, and the galloping horse became one of Remington's most famous subjects.
The Bronco Buster by Remington
In the mid-1890’s, Remington took up sculpting. His first sculpture, The Bronco Buster, was a difficult subject -- a horse reared on its back legs. Bronco Buster, like most of Remington’s sculptures was cast in bronze from a model made out of wax or clay.
His bronze sculptures are full of movement and seem like they could come alive.
Coming Through the Rye by Remington
In 1908, Remington created a large, outdoor sculpture for Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. It sits on a jutting rock and is one of the earliest pieces of art in the United States designed for a certain location.
Remington is credited with the invention of “cowboy” sculpture, which is still popular today, especially with Western art lovers.
The Mountain Man by Remington
The Cheyenne by Remington
A Dash for the Timber by Remington
Frederick Remington produced more than three thousand drawings and paintings, twenty-two bronze sculptures, a novel, a Broadway play, and over one hundred articles and stories.
Stampede by Remington
His scenes of cowboys, soldiers, and Native Americans excited the imagination of Americans and had a big influence on beliefs about the Old West.
Stampede by Remington
His exciting images influenced future generations with a genre that came to be known as Westerns. Movies, TV shows, books, and even commercials continue to celebrate Remington’s ideals.
Remiington Art Museum
A Frederick Remington Art Museum in Ogdensburg, New York is filled with his paintings and sculptures.
YouTube video - Frederick Remington Art Museum (1:30)
YouTube video - Remington: the Truth of Other Days [good summary of his legacy] (1:58 MIN.)