Many of our impressions of the Old West come from the pen of Frederic Remington. Since photography was not around until the 1830s and even later not particularly practical or easy, sketches and paintings were how most of history was recorded.
Frederic Sackrider Remington was born in 1861 in Canton, New York. His family was well-to-do and after attending prep school, he headed to Yale where he studied art and played football.
In his 20s, Remington wandered around the West working as a cowboy. He returned to his home-state of New York in 1886 to study painting at the Art Students League with J. Alden Weir.
His career began when Harpers Weekly commissioned him to illustrate a battle in the Indian war led by Geronimo. During the Spanish-American War, Remington worked in Cuba sending pictures and information back to the newspapers and magazines in the United States.
Many of his Western paintings were based on materials he collected and brought back to New York with him. Saddles, boots, and uniforms recreated the West in his New York studio.
Remington is known for life-like and exciting portrayals of the Old West. Although his drawings were natural and literal in detail and form, they often romanticized the life of the cowboy. Along with fellow eastern buddies Theodore Roosevelt and novelist Owen Wister, Remington helped create the myth of the Old West still popular today.
Remington was a busy guy: during the last 20 years of his life he wrote many magazine articles, made 24 bronze sculptures, and produced over 2,700 paintings of the West. You'll see many of his drawings throughout the Old West section of this website; his style is unmistabkable.
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