Remington, Frederic Sackrider – American Artist, Sculpture & Writer

Frederic Sackrider Remington, Artist of the American West (1861-1909)

Sculptor, artist, and adventure writer Frederic Remington, was born in Canton, New York in 1861. Remington is famous for his realistic and exciting paintings and bronze sculptures of the American West. He first became fascinated by the West after he left home as a young man. Like many young men, he headed out West to find an exciting career and a new life, but he soon lost all of his money to a con-man. He suddenly had to earn a living, and tried out lots of different jobs. He was a storekeeper, a shepherd, a cook on a ranch, a cow puncher and a stock man. The whole time that he was working, he was also drawing pictures.

Eventually, Remington returned back East and began to publish his drawings. He suggested to his editor that someone should write stories about the West for him to illustrate. His editor told him that was a great idea, and then told Remington to write the stories himself. So Remington began to write stories about life in the West to go along with his own drawings. He found the West beautiful and heroic, but he also saw that it was disappearing. He wrote, “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.”

According to Harold McCracken, “Frederic Remington was a nonconformist and adventurous in nearly everything he did. The first American sculptor to use the cire-perdue process, he became a close friend of Riccardo Bertelli, who brought the technique here from Italy and established the Roman Bronze Works. In a conversation with the present writer a good many years ago, Mr. Bertelli commented: ‘He (Remington) always wanted to have his horses with all four feet of the ground. I sometimes had quite a time with him.’”

Some reference material courtesy of Coeur d’Alene Art Auction.

Remington is known as one of the premier artist of the American West. During the 1880s, he traveled through the Dakotas, Montana, the Arizona Territory, and Texas, returning to New York in 1885, with the desire to record the vanishing wilderness. In 1895, he began to exhibit his bronzes of cowboys and horses in motion. After 1900, his illustrative style shifted to one of Impressionism, as he became influenced by the work of Monet, Childe Hassam, and John H. Twatchman. In addition to his paintings and sculpture, he wrote eight books and numerous short stories on the Wild West.

Information courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries, January 2009.

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