Frederic Remington (1861-1909) depicted the life of the cowboy during the 1880s and 1890’s better, perhaps, than any other artist of his time. He thought of himself as a true citizen of the American West.
A native of Canton, New York, Remington left college at the age of 19, looking for adventure in the West. Remington operated his own ranch in Kansas, and in 1886 he gave it up as a failure and came back to the East. The experience served him well in his later career as an artist. “What success I have had,” Remington once told a newspaper reporter, “has been because I have a horseman’s knowledge of a horse. No one can draw equestrian subjects unless he is an equestrian himself.”
As an artist, Remington first made a name for himself as an illustrator and painter, and began sculpting only 14 years before his death in 1909. “I was impelled to try my hand at sculpture by a mental desire to say something in the round as well as in flat. Sculpture is the most perfect expression of action. You can say it all in clay.” The first Remington in clay was “Bronco Buster,” completed in 1885.
Among his admirers were Theodore Roosevelt, who once said that “Remington portrayed a most characteristic and yet vanishing type of American life. The soldier, the cowboy, the rancher, the Indian, the horses and the cattle of the plains will live in his pictures and bronzes, I verily believe for all time.”
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