Frederic Remington Biography
Frederic Remington, spelled "Frederic" and not "Frederick
Remington", was born in 1861. During his career as a western artist,
Frederic Remington produced more than 2700 magazine drawings and paintings.
His drawings and paintings, which depicted the progression of the frontier
in a manner that were easily understood by the majority of Americans
during the late 1800's, made Frederic Remington the most popular painter
of the American West.
The paintings by Frederic Remington focused on people and events. Frederic
Remington used the beauty of the western landscape only as a fuzzy backdrop
to portray the events on the frontier. Virtually all Frederic Remington
paintings and sketches show a subtle to almost unrecognized backdrop,
and rarely are any of the landscapes defined.
The paintings by Frederic Remington, instead of showing the western
landscape, instead focused on the events that occurred on the western
frontier between 1880-1900. The paintings by Frederic Remington portray
the life of cowboys, the battles between the US Calvary and the Indians
as well as the settlement of the frontier by white immigrants from the
Frederic Remington was a relatively latecomer to the west, arriving many
years after other well-known western artists such as Charles Russell. Frederic
Remington first traveled west to Montana, arriving in 1881. During this
trip Frederic Remington came not to create artwork, sketches or paintings,
but to find his fortune in mining or other business interests that might
happen to be available. His first trip out west yielded him nothing in
the way of financial gains, and he returned east.
Frederic Remington first trip west, though, was not wasted. He submitted
a sketch he created to Harper's Weekly that, after editing, was published
in 1882, and marked the first piece of artwork to be published by Frederic
Frederic Remington returned to the west, this time to Kansas, in 1883,
and began to make almost annual pilgrimages to the west thereafter. Recognizing
his interest, and talents, as an artist, he enrolled in the Art Students
League of New York in 1886, but was there only several months before heading
for the west again.
Numerous sketches of his early trips out west were printed in magazines,
including Outing, The Century Magazine and Harper's Weekly. The drawings
and sketches by Frederic Remington proved to be so well liked by the
American public at that time that he became the most popular magazine
illustrator by 1888.
During this time, Frederic Remington began to concentrate on his paintings,
using his vast store of drawings, sketches and experiences from his previous
trips west. The paintings by Frederic Remington focused almost exclusively
on everyday people of the American West. His paintings showed the cowboys
working on the ranches, the soldiers in the Calvary and the Indians of
various tribes. The lack of landscape in most Frederic Remington paintings
help highlight the people he depicted in his artwork. The lack of details
in his paintings freed the picture of clutter and completely focused
all attention on the people portrayed.
Another interesting aspect of Frederic Remington paintings and artwork
was an unwillingness to show a battle joined between two opposing forces.
Many of his battle paintings showed either the defending forces or the
attacking forces and did not show an actual battle in place. The lack of
battle scenes, combined with his focus on individual attackers and defenders,
allows the viewers of Frederic Remington paintings to imagine the outcome
of the scene themselves.
Overall, the artwork and paintings by Frederic Remington are less an
accurate documentation of the settlement of the American frontier than
they are a record of the how the American public at that time viewed
the west. The heroic and rugged cowboys and solider portrayed in Frederic
Remington paintings reflected the beliefs of the west held by the American
public at that time. This, along with Frederic Remington's focus on ordinary
cowboys and soliders in the west and his excellent painting technique,
combined to make Frederic Remington the most popular western painter
during the 1890's.
All Paintings by Frederic Remington at Art.Com
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