Frederic Remington

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Frederic Remington’s art went on to redefine the American West and all credit goes to him for the West having the popular image which exists even today. The American painter specialized in paintings of cowboys, Native Americans, and the US Cavalry. What made Remington so unique as an artist was that apart from just painting he also excelled in depicting this favorite subject matter of his in the form of sculptures, illustrations and writing. His works went on to be known for showcasing the drama, thrill and wild beauty of the American West. Due to his distinct style and subject matter – the American West was not a inspiration for many other artists – Remington is considered to be one of the best American artists of all times.

Frederic Sackrider Remington was born on October 4, 1861 in Canton, New York into a strong family of French and English ancestry. Remington was a very active child and had a strong affinity for the outdoors be it swimming, hunting, hiking or nature observing. It was his exposure to the outside world which first introduced him to the world of the American West. Also the fact that his family consisted of very strong horsemen and loved to ride. Remington started sketching from a young age onwards, drawings of cowboys, horses and Native Indians. Brief spells in army school still didn’t deter Remington from his love of art. Remington enrolled at the prestigious Yale University and started playing football there along with practicing art during night times. After leaving Yale and attending to his dying father Remington took up odd jobs in publications and state agencies to refrain from getting bored and not just relying on his good inheritance. It was when he started taking camping trips by himself when he re-discovered what fascinated him so much about the outdoors and the Wild West. He sketched his first official sketch of cowboys in Monday and the work ended up getting published in the Harpers Weekly. This was followed by more prominent black and white illustrations of the frontier life and soon Remington’s name started making rounds around the American art school. What is unique about Remington’s style is that during that time the American West was synonymous with conflict and a strong divide between the Natives and cowboys. Remington’s art went beyond that and showcased the wild and aesthetic beauty associated with the Wild West. It was almost as if he was trying to say that there is more to the Wild West then meets the eye.

Soon sketches became proper water color paintings and Remington then started making sculptures of the frontier as well. Through Remington’s extra-ordinary art showcased the vast richness of what was considered to be the dying American West. His art breathed life into this vanishing genre. His sculptures stand out as they had both two-dimensional and three-dimensional angles to them – something unheard of during those times. One of his distinct masterpieces The Broncho Buster shows the wildness of human nature trying to control the American West. Little did Frederic Remington know that it would go on to become the symbolic symbol of the American West.

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