Frederic Remington
was born in 1861. Remington studied art at Yale University from 1878 to 1880. In college Remington was for a while on the historic varsity football team of 1879 and was also a heavyweight boxer, he did great at both sports. Then in 1880 his father died and he left Yale and after a year or so of clerical jobs, Frederic followed his imagination west, as far as Arizona and Indian Territory.

He set out to make his fortune in the American West. Throughout his journeys, he took on a variety of jobs—sheepherder, cook, cowpuncher, stockman--on ranches in Kansas and Montana.

During the latter part of the nineteenth century, Remington worked as a magazine illustrator for Harper’s Weekly and as a journalistic illustrator covering the Plains Indian war. He became financially successful through this work and at the same time experienced such adventures as traveling with the U.S. Army and learning first hand what it was like to live with an Indian tribe.

The Old West was Remington’s main subject. Combining images and events from both imagination and reality, he presented detailed pictures of cattle, horses, Indian braves, frontier soldiers and hard working, self reliant cowboys leading rugged lives on the open range. These works about the settlement of the West include dramatic scenes of battles against the Native Americans. In his portrayals little sympathy is shown for the Indians, it is the settlers who are seen to be virtuous and heroic.

Remington completed 2,750 paintings and drawings and 25 bronze sculptures. In addition to this body of work, he wrote and illustrated 8 books and numerous articles. Remington’s precise, direct works depict the harsh and wide open sceneries of the frontier in an almost romanticized manner.

 

 

THE FALL OF THE COWBOY - This is a historical record of life in the Old American West. It shows how the free-roaming life of the cowboy changed when barbed wire fences were introduced to keep cattle from wandering. The mood of the painting reflects its theme. The dull sky, the barren snow and the attitudes of the cowboys and horses echo the artist’s attitude about this change in the lifestyle of the cowboys. Remington's realistic painting leaves the viewer wondering what the cowboys are thinking as they riders seem tired and lonely and the fence seems endless.


 

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