Frederic Remington’s work, in both oil paintings and bronze sculptures, embodies the iconic Wild West. From portraits of cowboys, Native Americans, and landscapes of the Old West his work captured a historic chapter in the story of America.
Although his work was often praised for its authenticity, he wasn’t a Western man himself. Born in Canton, New York, he fell in love with the romance of the West and travelled there often to depict life on the frontier. A prolific illustrator for magazines of the time, including Harper's Weekly, he produced over 3,000 signed paintings and drawings. Later in his life, in 1895 he moved on to sculpture and created 22 different bronzes before his early death following an emergency appendectomy at the age of 48.
His work still inspires a sense of patriotic pride and his snapshots of the old west can be viewed around the country. Here are eight of the best places to revel in the nostalgia and romance of cowboy life through Remington’s art in America.
Remington Museum, Ogdensburg, NY
The Frederic Remington Art Museum, in Ogdensburg, New York, showcases a vast collection of his work as well as personal artifacts that tell the story of the man behind the art. Built in 1810, the main building of the museum, which was the home of Remington’s wife Eva after his death, offers a collection of personal property including letters and art supplies. Inside the light-filled Albert Priest Newell Gallery, you’ll find collections of changing artwork and sculpture, like “The Mountain Man,” which depicts a pioneer riding and directing a very reluctant horse down an impossibly steep slope. “The Outlaw” shows another horse and rider frozen in a bucking position, capturing the movement and drama of the moment. Here you can also see rare Collier prints of otherwise lost works that Remington destroyed.
More info: https://fredericremington.org/
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX
This museum in Fort Worth, is an homage to American art and although it now features work by thousands of US creators it was originally founded on an expansive collection of both Remington and Charles M. Russell pieces supplied by prolific collector Amon G. Carter Sr. Here you can see ‘The Fall of The Cowboy,’ an oil painting that was created in 1895 to accompany an article for Harper’s Monthly. There is also a lively bronze cast in 1916 on display titled ‘Coming Through The Rye’ which depicts four cowboys galloping on horseback, guns drawn and aloft in a rowdy depiction of life on the range.
More info: https://www.cartermuseum.org/
Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY
Among its more than 200,000 pieces of modern artwork, New York city’s MOMA has a series of five exhibitions featuring the work of Frederic Remington. Along with classic works of art like Van Gogh’s Starry Night and collections from Warhol, you can also see examples celebrating the Wild West. The American Battle Painting- 1776-1918 exhibit includes 71 artists’ work – including Remington.
More info: https://www.moma.org
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Western history, culture, art, and artifacts are displayed at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, in Oklahoma City, including many works by Remington in The William S. and Ann Atherton Art of the American West gallery. The museum's collection of over 200 contemporary American artworks curated over the last 30 years includes not only Remington but also Charles Marion Russell, Albert Bierstadt, and Solon Borglum. Remington’s painting ‘The Hunters' Supper’ created in 1909 can be seen on display here, which depicts cowboys enjoying a campfire dinner in muted and romantic tones.
More info: https://nationalcowboymuseum.org/
Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, WY
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West, in Cody, Wyoming encompasses a huge online collection, a research library and various galleries and museums including the Buffalo Bill Museum, Whitney western art museum, and the Cody Firearms Museum. As well as their own collection of Remington sketches, prints, paintings, and sculptures they also curated the traveling exhibit ‘Go West! Art of the American Frontier Tour,’ which featured various works by Remington.
More info: https://centerofthewest.org/
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
The Met Museum in New York City is a great place to see Remington art in America with its exhibition of more than 20 Remington sketches, paintings, and sculptures. A later casting of Remington’s first sculpture, the iconic ‘Bronco Buster,’ is also on display. Another work is a large oil-on-canvas titled ‘On the Southern Plains.’ Created in 1907, it shows a cavalry in motion. In the foreground, a bison skull, a frequent icon used in his work, points to the loss of a way of life in the old west.
More info: https://www.metmuseum.org/
Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK
Visit Tulsa, Oklahoma to enjoy many examples of Remington art in America at the Gilcrease Museum. The ongoing exhibition ‘To Endure in Bronze’ was named after a Remington quote; ‘My oils will all get old and watery, that is they will look like stale molasses in time, my watercolors will fade but I am to endure in bronze.’ His legacy is the inspiration for the exhibit which also features work from Charles Russell, James Earle Fraser, and Hermon Atkins MacNeil.
More info: https://gilcrease.org/
Art Institute of Chicago
Right in the city and close to Lake Michigan you can visit the expansive Art Institute of Chicago to see Remington art in America. The second-largest art museum in the country has an impressive collection of Frederic Remington's work, although not all exhibits are on display. Here you can view the painting ‘The Advance-Guard’ also known as ‘The Military Sacrifice,’ created in 1890. The work shows the moment after a sentinel is shot by a Sioux warrior and the ensuing retreat of his regiment.
More info: https://www.artic.edu/