Frederic Remington : A Sculptor
Frederic Sackrider Remington (October 4, 1861 - December 26, 1909) was an American painter, illustrator, sculptor, and writer who specialized in depictions of the Old American West, specifically concentrating on the last quarter of the 19th century American West and images of cowboys, American Indians, and the U.S. Cavalry.
In 1886, Remington was sent to Arizona by Harper's Weekly on a commission as an artist-correspondent to cover the government’s war against Geronimo. Although he never caught up with Geronimo, Remington did acquire many authentic artifacts to be used later as props, and made many photos and sketches valuable for later paintings. He also made notes on the true colors of the West, such as “shadows of horses should be a cool carmine & Blue”, to supplement the black and white photos. Ironically, art critics later criticized his palette as “primitive and unnatural” even though it was based on actual observation.
Remington’s fame made him a favorite of the Western Army officers fighting the last Indian battles. He was invited out West to make their portraits in the field and to gain them national publicity through Remington’s articles and illustrations for Harper's Weekly, particularly General Nelson Miles, an Indian fighter who aspired to the presidency of the United States.In turn, Remington got exclusive access to the soldiers and their stories, and boosted his reputation with the reading public as “The Soldier Artist”. Remington arrived on the scene just after the Massacre at Wounded Knee, in which over 300 Sioux were slaughtered and which he reported it as “The Sioux Outbreak in South Dakota”, praising the Army’s ”heroic” actions in dealing with the Indians.Some of the Miles paintings are monochromatic and have an almost “you-are-there” photographic quality, heightening the realism, as in The Parley (1898)
Its not hard to find how Jeff Decker & Frederic Remington could have been friends...
Remington’s had developed a sculptor’s 360 degree sense of vision but until a chance remark by playwright Augustus Thomas in 1895, Remington had not yet conceived of himself as a sculptor and thought of it as a separate art for which he had no training or aptitude.With help from friend and sculptor Frederick Ruckstuhl, Remington constructed his first armature and clay model, a “bronco buster” where the horse is reared on its hind legs—technically a very challenging subject. After several months, the novice sculptor overcame the difficulties and had a plaster cast made, then bronze copies, which were sold at Tiffany’s. Remington was ecstatic about his new line of work, and though critical response was mixed, some labelling it negatively as “illustrated sculpture”, it was a successful first effort earning him $6,000 over three years.
In 1991 the PBS series American Masters filmed a documentary of Remington's life called Frederic Remington: The Truth of Other Days produced and directed by Tom Neff.