by Dr. Lori Verderame
Frederic Remington (American, 1861-1909) was both a successful painter and sculptor born in New York and associated with the western tradition of art subjects. A relative of the famed artist best known for his portraits of Native American indians named George Catlin, Frederic Remington briefly attended the Yale Art School in New Haven, CT. Following his father’s death in 1881, Remington made a trip to the western United States. In 1883, shortly after his initial trip west, Remington purchased a sheep ranch near Peabody, Kansas. Remington married in 1884 and shortly thereafter, he and his wife moved first to Kansas City and later, onto New York. By 1886, Remington’s work was published in such publications of the day as Harper’s Weekly, Century Magazine, and Outing Youth’s Companion.
Remington was known for both his paintings and his sculptures of western subjects. His paintings capture the rough and tumble nature of the cowboy experience. Remington’s oil paintings depicted traditional western scenes: Native Americans, cowboys, horses, saloons, etc. Many of his original paintings are in major museums whereby his lithographic prints were reproduced in magazines and newspapers.
Remington worked predominantly in the loss wax casting method. Remington’s bronzes were successful in part due to the casting abilities of his selected foundries. The famous work called Bronco Buster was first case at the Henry Bonnard bronze company in New York between 1895-1900. The foundry produced sixty four sand castings of the bronze. Sand casting, a method Remington used for his early bronzes, involved making a negative sand mold from the foundry’s plaster cast of the artist’s original clay model. Since this was an accurate way to reproduce an artist’s work, the sand cast alternately did not allow the artist to easily make a change. Later, Remington established a relationship with the Roman Bronze Works foundry of New York, circa 1900 as a fire at his original casting firm put the firm in jeopardy. The Roman Bronze Works employed the lost wax method of casting and many of Remington’s bronzes show the Roman Bronze Works mark and medallion.
Frederic Remington sculpted twenty two different subjects at the height of his career, from 1895 to 1909 including: The Broncho Buster 1895, The Wounded Bunkie 1896, The Wicked Pony 1898, The Scalp 1898, The Northern 1900, The Cheyenne 1901, The Buffalo Signal 1901, Coming through the Rye 1902, The Mountain Man 1903, Polo 1904, The Sergeant 1904, The Rattlesnake 1905, Dragoons 1905, Paleolithic Man 1906, The Horse Thief 1907, The Buffalo Horse 1907, The Savage 1908, The Cowboy 1908, Trooper of the Plains 1909, The Broncho Buster 1909, and The Stampede 1909.
Works of art by Frederic Remington are part of the collections of some of the world’s most prestigious museums such as the Joslyn Museum of Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Nelson Atkins Museum, among others.
What to Look For
When assessing Remington paintings, issues such as condition, authentication, signature, and subject will impact value. If Remington’s paintings, drawings, illustrations, or prints are of interest, consider subject matter and quality of the work in comparison to other paintings of the same period. Prints should be presented on period, quality paper and inks should be fresh and sharp. There are a good number of fakes in the market, so beware of forgeries.
When reviewing Remington’s sculptures, look from authentic foundry marks and the artist’s markings as they were found in the cast mold. When it comes to sculptures, Remington’s pieces have been reproduced widely. Sculptures may be restrikes which were produced after the artist’s death or by various outfits, so be sure you know what you are buying before you commit or selling if you think you have a find.
Get an online appraisal of your Frederic Remington work from Dr. Lori.