Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Society of Illustrators Profile: Frederic Remington

Born in Canton, New York in 1861, Fredric Sackrider Remington spent many hours in the saddle riding with his father as a boy which started his lifelong love for horses that would help inspire the artist in his future career. Attending military school and a brief stint at Yale University, Remington was more interested in drawing and sports than his academic studies, so hearing tall tales of adventure on the frontier, he ventured West in 1881 to seek his fortune. Raising sheep and herding cattle in Montana did not provide much money, but he did end up with a bag full of drawings which he sold to Harper's Weekly upon his return. As much at home on the Western plains as with his society friends back East, Remington saw the Old West was quickly disappearing, so he decided to return many times to document the people, customs and landscapes of this dying tradition. In 1886 his work appeared in St Nicholas, Harper's Weekly, and Outing magazines, followed by offers from various other publications of the day. Thrilling the American public with his accurate Western scenes, the artist left the print media and turned to painting for exhibition in 1903. His equal care and attention to authentic detail in his paintings and sketches carried over to his budding interest in sculpture in 1898, where he was the first American to use the lost wax process. During the Spanish-American War, Remington went to Cuba as an artist/reporter where he met and developed an enduring friendship with the legendary rough rider, Teddy Roosevelt. Upon his death in 1909 from an appendicitis at age 48, Roosevelt spoke about this robust and energetic friend at his funeral," The soldier, the cowboy and rancher, the Indian, the horse and cattle of the plains will live in his pictures, I verily believe for all time."

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