In a Different Light: Frederic Remington

Frederic Remington is an American artist, sculptor, illustrator, and writer. He is one of the first artists of the last quarter of the 19th century who deviated from standard religious subjects in the visual impressionism arts. The basis of his work was the life of the wild American West. It is believed that it was he who created and popularized the so-called romanticism of the Wild West, which is still popular today. His drawings, sculptures, paintings provide very detailed descriptions of many aspects of the life of cowboys, cavalrymen, Indians, cattle ranges, shepherds, and tamers of wild horses. The numerous paintings of Remington you can see at

Early years

The artist was born in Canton, New York, in 1861. He was the only child of his parents, Seth Pierre Remington and Clarissa Basque Sackrider. Their families emigrated from Alsace and Lorraine, the German Empire at the beginning of the 18th century. Remington's father was a colonel in the cavalry during the American Civil War. Remington's great-grandfather, Samuel Bask, was a manufacturer and trader of saddles. Thanks to this fact, the men in his family were good riders. His family is also associated with the Indian portrait painter George Kathleen and the sculptor Earl W. Basque. His parents, as well as later, Frederic himself was convinced by Republicans.

Young Remington was an active child. He was fond of hunting, horseback riding, and often went hiking. The artist made the first drawings and sketches in early childhood.

When Remington was 11 years old, his family moved to Ogdensburg, New York.

His father sent him to study at the Vermont Episcopal Institute, a church military school, where he received his first drawing lessons.

Then he moved to another military school, where he did cartoons of his classmates, thereby gaining the authority of a talented student.

Realizing that he wants to connect his profession with creativity, the young man goes to study at an art school at the famous Yale University. There he became interested in football. The student newspaper Yale Courant printed his first illustration. It was a cartoon sketch showing a Bandaged Footballer.

Remington left Yelsky University to look after his sick father, and after his death, he got a job as a reporter but never returned to school.

At the age of 19, he made his first trip to the West to Montana. There he tried to work in mining, but this work didn`t appeal to him. But this trip gave him a genuine and lasting impression of the life of the Wild West and became the main source of inspiration for his subsequent work.

In 1884, he married Eve Katen and they settled in Kansas City. Later they move to Brooklyn and the young artist went to study in the League of Art Students of New York.

As interest in everything Western in society grew, he began to publish his works in eminent New York publications. On January 9, 1886, his work was published on the cover of Harper's Weekly.

From drawings to large-scale paintings

The drawings for the magazines were mostly black and white. After adding watercolors, Remington began selling his paintings at art exhibitions. On the topic of the wild West, he quickly became popular and even fell into the favorites of the future President Roosevelt. In 1887, he received a contract for the creation of 83 illustrations for Theodore Roosevelt's book The Life of the Ranch and The Hunting Trail.

In 1890, the first solo exhibition of works by Frederic Remington took place. Undoubtedly, the painting A Dash for the Timbler became the central canvas of the exhibition. After its presentation, it gains unprecedented fame and gradually moved from magazine illustrations to large-format creations. Among his famous paintings, The Fall Of The Cowboy is certainly worth mentioning. This painting was an illustration of Owen Whister's article, The Evolution of the Cow Puncher, in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, September 1895. Three of the most famous paintings closes Fight for the Water Hole (1903). In the center of the picture is a hole with water. Water is like an oasis in a vast desert. Brave men and their horses are sitting in a pit. They are ready to shoot at any moment to protect their only means of survival at the moment.

Sculptor, correspondent, and more

In 1895, Remington first tried himself as a sculptor. With the support of his friend and sculptor Frederic Rakshtul, his first sculpture Bronco Buster appeared.

A few years later, he interrupted his fascination with sculptures to go to Cuba. The purpose of the trip was to cover the American-Spanish War as a war correspondent and illustrator for Harper's and the New York Journal. Before his eyes, an attack on the height of San Juan took place by American troops. At this moment, Remington got disappointed in the heroic ideals of the war, realizing all the horror that it brings to people on both sides.

After returning from Cuba, Remington spent a lot of time in the house on the island, located on the St. Lawrence River. He created many more of his famous sculptures there.

Remington's legacy

Remington's creative career lasted about 25 years. Over the years, he created more than 3,000 magazine illustrations, drawings, and great paintings. The world saw 22 bronze sculptures, literary novels, a Broadway play, and hundreds of articles in the most famous American publications. He practically created a romantic legend about the wild west and cowboys. He inspired many producers. In the famous cigarette advertisement, The Marlboro Man was one of Remington's illustrations. His work was associated with realistic figures of people inhabiting the west and the struggle for life. He gave the Americans those heroes whom they wanted to see in themselves - independent, courageous, and powerful. He is rightfully considered the most popular American artist of the 19th century.

On December 26, 1909, Frederic Remington died after an emergency appendectomy. His obesity (weight about 300 pounds) complicated anesthesia and the operation was fatal. He was 48 years old.

The originals of his paintings are in the Remington Memorial of Art, in Ogdensburg, New York, as well as in many other national galleries and museums.

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