An­other Fron­tier: Fred­eric Rem­ing­ton’s East

Fred­eric Rem­ing­ton’s paint­ings from the East are the stars of a new show now open at the Sid Richard­son Mu­seum in Texas.

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS -

Fort Worth, TX

Fred­eric Rem­ing­ton is cer­tainly one of the great­est West­ern artists to have ever picked up a brush, but one of­ten-over­looked fact about the painter and sculp­tor is that he was pri­mar­ily based on the East Coast. And with such close prox­im­ity to non-west­ern sub­ject mat­ter, his brush would of­ten wan­der.

Many of those great paint­ings from the East are the sub­ject of a new ex­hi­bi­tion now on­go­ing at the Sid Richard­son Mu­seum in Fort Worth, Texas. An­other Fron­tier: Fred­eric Rem­ing­ton’s East fea­tures paint­ings, pho­to­graphs and ob­jects on loan from the Fred­eric Rem­ing­ton Art Mu­seum, as well as archival items from the St. Lawrence Uni­ver­sity Spe­cial Col­lec­tions Li­brary, both in New York near ar­eas where Rem­ing­ton grew up, worked and lived. In an un­prece­dented ex­change, the Sid Richard­son Mu­seum is also loan­ing sev­eral of its own Rem­ing­ton works to the Fred­eric Rem­ing­ton Art Mu­seum

dur­ing the An­other Fron­tier ex­hi­bi­tion.

For Mary Burke, the di­rec­tor at the Sid Richard­son Mu­seum, the ex­hi­bi­tion is unique for sev­eral rea­sons, in­clud­ing the trad­ing of loaned paint­ings be­tween the two mu­se­ums, as well as the rel­a­tive rar­ity of a Rem­ing­ton show that is not about the Amer­i­can West. She points out that a trav­el­ing ex­hi­bi­tion with a sim­i­lar theme, The North Coun­try Art of Fred­eric Rem­ing­ton: Artist in Res­i­dence, was shown at sev­eral New York mu­se­ums, but that was in 1985 and 1986. The art world was due for an­other pre­sen­ta­tion.

“Many peo­ple think Rem­ing­ton lived in the West, like Char­lie Rus­sell, but other than liv­ing in Kansas for a short time and trav­el­ing to the West, Rem­ing­ton spent the bulk of his life in the East,” Burke says. “We wanted to high­light the work he was do­ing there, but also show that he was very much con­nected and in tune with the Eastern art scene at that time. So not only will we have Rem­ing­ton’s work, but we will also have works from his Amer­i­can Im­pres­sion­ist artist friends: Childe Has­sam, Wil­lard Met­calf and Anna Mary Richards Brew­ster. We also have some other great ma­te­ri­als in­clud­ing a book, Peo­ple I Know, which is was filled with writ­ings, draw­ings and car­i­ca­tures from some of his friends and col­leagues.”

Burke adds: “What’s re­ally strik­ing was how Rem­ing­ton was sur­rounded by all this green coun­try, and yet he was paint­ing these West­ern icons and mas­ter­pieces.”

Works in the ex­hi­bi­tion in­clude three mar­velous boat scenes on a lake: River Drivers in the Spring Break Up, which fea­tures three fig­ures emerg­ing out of a win­tery fog over plates of frozen ice that have bro­ken up on top of a lake; Haul­ing the Gill Net, show­ing two fig­ures in a ca­noe cut­ting through choppy waters; and The Howl of the Weather, an even more dra­matic ca­noe scene, this one fea­tur­ing a hid­den fourth fig­ure that clings in fear to one of the fel­low boaters. “Howl of the Weather re­ally raises the ten­sion level as these waves starts to crash over the ca­noe,” says Burke. “I like to think of it along­side Rem­ing­ton’s Buf­falo Hunters—big Horn Basin, which fea­tures a sim­i­lar com­po­si­tion, but in a dif­fer­ent set­ting en­tirely.”

Other works in­clude a won­der­ful moon­lit win­ter scene, The End of the Day, and a num­ber of out­doors scenes around his New York home and stu­dio. In Small Oaks, for in­stance, he paints a de­tailed camp scene of a tent, cots in­side, items on chairs and ta­bles, and a ham­mock tied to a tree. The scene has a lived-in feel and was al­most cer­tainly painted from some­thing Rem­ing­ton saw around his home.

In ad­di­tion to the paint­ings, there are a num­ber of in­ter­est­ing archival items, in­clud­ing a let­ter from the artist to his wife, Eva. The let­ter was writ­ten while Rem­ing­ton trav­eled through Fort Worth in July. “…had a devil of a time — The mos­qui­tos like to have eaten me up — there is not a square inch on my body that is not bit­ten — and oh oh oh how hot it is here — I have sweat & sweat my clothes full — I can fairly smell my­self — I am dirty and look like the devil and feel worse and there is no sleep for me. Well you can bet I am go­ing to make the dust fly and get through as soon as I can…” He signs the let­ter, “Your old boy, Fred.”

An­other Fron­tier: Fred­eric Rem­ing­ton’s East is on view through Septem­ber 9, 2019.

Fred­eric Rem­ing­ton (1861-1909), The Howl of the Weather, ca. 1905, oil on can­vas, 27 x 40”. Fred­eric Rem­ing­ton Art Mu­seum, Og­dens­burg, NY, 66.49. Ed­win Wild­man,

Fred­eric Rem­ing­ton, In­gleneuk Stu­dio, 1902, pho­to­graph,4 x 5”. Fred­eric Rem­ing­tonArt Mu­seum, Og­dens­burg, NY, 1918.76.51.

Fred­eric Rem­ing­ton (1861-1909), Small Oaks, 1887, oil on can­vas, 11¾ x 13¾”. Fred­eric Rem­ing­ton Art Mu­seum, Og­dens­burg, NY, 66.42.

Fred­eric Rem­ing­ton (1861-1909), The End of the Day, ca.1904, oil on can­vas, 26½ x 40”. Fred­eric Rem­ing­ton Art Mu­seum, Og­dens­burg, NY, 66.36.

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