Frederic Remington was a famed illustrator, painter and sculptor who specialised in depictions of the Wild West, The Scout Friends or Foes? is a pristine example of his work from some time between 1900 and 1905. His fame was such that other painters working in the same tradition became known as members of the School of Remington.
Here we are presented with a moment of uncertainty in Realist style as the scout, who sits bolt upright in the saddle, peers into the vast distance trying to ascertain whether the company in the right background are friendly or hostile. We share in this effort of perception as much as the scout does, and indeed this effort stands for the viewer’s attempt to perceive meaning in the painting as a whole.
Frederic Remington: The Scout Friends or Foes? is in the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.