These are the 12 most famous paintings by Frederic Remington.
Frederic Remington (1861-1909) was an American painter, illustrator, and sculptor, best known for his iconic depictions of the American West and its inhabitants. Born in Canton, New York, Remington developed a fascination with the frontier and the cowboy way of life from an early age. His father’s influence, who was a colonel in the Civil War and a newspaper editor, played a role in shaping his interest in military and Western subjects.
Remington’s career took off in the late 19th century when he began illustrating articles for popular magazines, including Harper’s Weekly and Collier’s. His illustrations, often portraying scenes of cowboys, Native Americans, and the U.S. Cavalry, quickly gained popularity and established him as a preeminent artist of the American West.
In addition to his illustrations, Remington also experimented with sculpture, creating dynamic and realistic bronze sculptures that captured the spirit of the West. One of his most famous sculptures is Bronco Buster (1895), depicting a cowboy wrestling with a rearing horse, symbolizing the struggle for dominance on the untamed frontier.
Remington traveled extensively throughout the West, documenting the landscape and its inhabitants. His field sketches and firsthand experiences lent authenticity to his work, allowing him to capture the nuances of Western life with unparalleled accuracy. His paintings, such as A Dash for the Timber (1889) and The Smoke Signal (1905), reflect his keen understanding of the challenges and adventures faced by those on the frontier.
Despite his success, Remington faced criticism from some art critics who considered his work commercial and lacking in artistic depth. However, over time, he has come to be recognized as a quintessential American artist whose portrayals of the West continue to resonate with audiences. Frederic Remington’s legacy endures, and his impact on shaping the visual narrative of the American West has left an indelible mark on the history of American art.
Touchdown, Yale vs. Princeton, Thanksgiving Day (1890)
The Yale vs. Princeton football game held on Thanksgiving Day in 1876 is historically significant as one of the earliest American football games and a pivotal moment in the development of college football. This game is often considered the first intercollegiate football contest, setting the stage for the growth and establishment of football as a popular sport in the United States. On this specific day, the final score was Yale 32, Princeton 0.
A Map in the Sand (1905)
This watercolor painting depicts a scene in the American Old West where a Native American man is drawing a map in the sand where two eager cowboys pay close attention.
A New Year on the Cimarron (1903)
This is a scene of two men and their horses resting on the banks of the Cimarron River. Cimarron River is a river in the central United States, flowing through the states of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado. The name Cimarron is derived from the Spanish word for wild or unbroken, reflecting the untamed nature of the region during the much earlier time of Spanish exploration.
The Sentinel (1889)
Here we see a mounted guard outside of the San Xavier del Bac, a Spanish Catholic mission located on the Tohono O’odham San Xavier Indian Reservation southwest of Tucson, Arizona, United States. It is often referred to as the White Dove of the Desert due to its striking white exterior and distinctive architecture.
The Scout: Friends or Foes? (1900-1905)
The Scout: Friends or Foes? is a simple painting. A solitary blackfoot indian sits on his horse staring across a snowy plane at night. We can see in the distance a camp set up with fires burning, and the horseman’s tense stare into the horizon is of the uncertainty of their intentions or their welcome if he were to approach them.
The Flight (1895)
Also known as Sage-Brush Pioneer, this painting depicts a cowboy on horseback mid-fight, with a pistol raised in the air.
Shotgun Hospitality (1908)
Shotgun Freighters were a type of freight-hauling wagon or stagecoach that had a person armed with a shotgun riding alongside the driver. This person, often called a shotgun messenger or shotgun guard, was responsible for providing security during the journey, particularly in areas where the risk of robbery was high. Here we see a lone freighter protecting his wagon, in conversation with three Native American Indians. It is difficult to tell if this encounter is a friendly one.
Aiding a Comrade (1890)
Here we see a scene from the Old American West where one man on horseback rides with one hand out, attempting to rescue his comrade, who has fallen as a result of his horse tangled in a lasso by a third man, also on horseback.
An Indian Trapper (1889)
An Indian Trapper is an iconic American painting of the Old West. Indian Trappers were Native Americans engaged in trapping animals for fur and pelts, often as part of their traditional livelihood and economic activities. Native American tribes across North America have a long history of trapping, hunting, and gathering as essential components of their subsistence and trade.
The Mier Expedition – The Drawing of the Black Bean (1896)
The Mier Expedition was an ill-fated military expedition launched by a group of Texan rebels against Mexican forces in 1842. The expedition gets its name from the town of Mier in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, near which a significant incident occurred during the campaign.
After the capture of the Texan prisoners, they were marched to Mexico City as prisoners of war. Along the way, the captives attempted an escape, leading to a confrontation known as the Battle of Mier. The Texans were defeated, and the Mexican authorities decided to punish them.
As a form of punishment, the Mexican captors ordered the drawing of black and white beans from a jar. Those who drew black beans were selected for execution.
The Advance-Guard, or The Military Sacrifice (1890)
The painting depicts a cavalry scout who has just been injured, struggling to stay on his horse. In the background, we can see mounted troops fleeing the scene. In the American Old West, cavalry scouts were often employed by the military or civilian authorities, responsible for reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, and providing information about the terrain and potential threats.
Roasting the Christmas Beef in a Cavalry Camp (1892)
This is a scene of a group of cavalrymen surrounding a fireplace on Christmas Day in 1892. They are cooking roast beef and appear to be taking a break from the day-to-day to do so. Amongst them is a single Native American man, watching the proceedings.
What famous paintings by Frederic Remington do you think we should add to this list? Comment below.