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.
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.