Antiques & The Arts

More on Frederic Remington

APPRAISER: Thinking back to 2014 I didn’t elaborate
as much as I should have on how special Remington is for American paintings. We
think of him with the sculptures and with the illustrations for Harper’s and
all the major magazines in New York in the late 19th and early 20th century, but
what people don’t realize about him was that he was a real New Yorker. He was
born in upstate New York, he lived in Brooklyn, and then he lived
in New Rochelle where he had a studio for 18 years. So while he loved the West
and while early on as early as 1881, he knew he wanted to be a Western
illustrator and traveled often to the West, he always brought his drawings back, and his sketches and worked on them here. He started off as an illustrator and so
knew how to listen to a story and ultimately how to tell a story and I
think that’s what’s so compelling about his paintings because they all tell a
story. I also mentioned in 2014 that he wasn’t particularly well trained. He
didn’t study a great deal he didn’t travel to Paris and study in France but
he studied at Yale if there’s College of Art and also at the at the Art Students
League in New York. So there was training, but where he got his legs was really
with the illustration and with doing it over and over and over again, and then he
just had a great eye. One of the aspects of this painting and of Remington’s work
in general I think is that there’s a wonderful abstraction to his work which
attracts contemporary viewers as well as 19th century fans. This piece with its
anonymous mysterious background and this you know stoic military figure, Remington
in fact was very in awe of his father who had a military career in the Civil
War, so you know I think that kind of drama is evident in the piece and is
irresistible to anyone looking at it.

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