William Coffin, art critic for Scribner’s magazine, noted in 1892 that more than any other source, Frederic Remington’s paintings were chiefly responsible for easterners’ conceptions of what the Far‑Western life is like. Fifteen years later, Remington received positive reviews for his December 1909 exhibition at Knoedler’s Galleries in New York where he included Hunter’s Supper. By the end of the month, however, Remington’s brilliant career as a painter and sculptor, as well as a journalist and novelist, was ended by complications from an emergency appendectomy that took place in his Connecticut kitchen. He was only 48.
Remington was born and reared in New York State where early on his father introduced him to horses, which became his lifelong passion in art and leisure. Intrigued by the West on an 1881 vacation to Montana Territory, Remington bought and later sold a Kansas sheep ranch. He lived in Kansas for two years before returning to New York, where he became a nationally revered artist‑correspondent for periodicals. His figural paintings of military, western and wildlife subjects, gleaned from subsequent trips to the Southwest, Northwest and Rocky Mountains, appeared in such widely read publications as Harper’s Weekly, Harper’s Monthly, Century, Collier’s, Outing, Boys’Life, and Cosmopolitan.
The Museum collection including The Buffalo Signal (1901), which is a unique cast that Remington gifted to his friend, French Devereux. It represents the moment at which an Indian scout waves a buffalo robe, signaling the beginning of the hunt.
Although applauded for the accuracy and authenticity of his mostly black‑and‑white illustrations, later in his career Remington lamented the label of illustrator. By 1900, he was experimenting with pure pigments, impressionistic painting techniques and simplified compositions. Notably, he began to focus on the subtle tonalities of night. Deeply personal, his nocturnes are infused with mystery and remarkable suggestions of firelight, as seen in his In From the Night Herd. These late paintings earned Remington accolades from art collectors as well as from art critics, whose recognition he had long coveted.
Created by — John Spencer, Director of Media & Content Creation, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Written by — Susan Hallsten McGarry