Painting Description and Analysis:
Frederic Remington 1895 work The Fall Of The Cowboy
is a starkly accurate reproduction of life in the American West
from an artist who frequently conjured his own reality or depicted his subjects with only a passing glance. Remington's reproductions of life in the 'wild' west
were less a reflection of life as it was and more an image of how his contemporary North saw the rough and wild South. Yet, The Fall Of The Cowboy
is a remarkable document of the debris of a resilient, heroic, and tragic people. Remington's painting portrays a world filled with the trials and struggles of a rural reality battling for survival in a rapidly modernizing nation. Forced to dismount in order to cross a wire fence, the men are shown to be impeded by the excessive demarcating of land and property.
First submitting sketches of his early trips to popular contemporary magazines such as Outing, The Century Magazine and Harper's Weekly, Remington soon found an audience for his figurative reproductions of living myths. The painting was one of five illustrations attached to an article by Owen Wister, titled, "The Evolution of the Cow Puncher," in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, September 1895. After the catastrophic horror of the American Civil War and the reconstruction years there was an urgent need to revive the utopian values of the American Dream and consequently the mythologizing of the Western Frontiers was undertaken by enterprising and talented young artists. Becoming a cultural symbol which would endure to the present day, and playing a huge part in the evolution of American cinema in the meantime, the legend of the cowboy was in a large part created by Remington himself in canvases of such immense popularity as The Fall Of The Cowboy
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