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Frederic Remington is one of the main artists that portrayed the old American West, emphasizing the Native Americans, the cowboys, as well as the U.S. Cavalry. The artist was an only child born in Canton, New York in October 1861. As a youngster, he didn’t evolve much in school, especially in mathematics, but was very strong and active. From an early age, Remington would love the outdoors to camp, hunt, ride horses, and swim. At 11 years old, he was enroled in the Vermont Episcopal Institute, a Christian military school, as his father had high hopes for his son to become an army man but it wasn’t in Remington’s nature. About five years later, he set his mind to become a journalist, but still working with art on the side.
In 1878, Remington began his studies at Yale University in New Haven, under the teachings of John Henry Niemeyer. Although the Academy brought substantial knowledge about art in general, Remington was tired of still life and traditional and formal training, preferring to observe and portray sports players in action. He emphasized boxing and football, even joining the Yale football team at the time. A year later, he left the university to tend to his ill father, who passed away in 1880. The artist’s father left him with an inheritance which enabled him to leave art school and spend his time the way he wished - in nature.
At the age of 19, Remington took his first of many trips to the West, more specifically Montana - a journey that resulted in his first publication in Harper’s Weekly. He initially went with the intention of buying cattle and then to enter the mining business, but both fell through. This was a significant period for the American West, as things were changing fast. Remington witness the vast prairies and unfenced cattle, but this scenario would soon transform with the number of buffalo rapidly reducing, and the Native American tribes were getting in significant conflicts with the U.S. Cavalry - strong motifs for his art. Different from the artists that came after, Remington was lucky enough to have a truly authentic view of the Wild West.
After going through a rough patch in his marriage and career, the painter returned to New York from Kansas to join the Art Students League in 1886. By this time, the press was very interested in publishing about the dying West, giving an advantage to Remington, who had an authentic - although a bit exaggerated - view of the area. His first cover publication in Harper’s Weekly was with 25 years of age in 1886, and he would often travel on behalf of magazines to portray the landscapes. In 1890, Remington had his first solo art exhibit which took place at the American Art Galleries. The public and critics enjoyed his work immensely, as well as himself - the artist picked up on the cowboy style and mannerisms.
Frederic Remington was one of the greatest American artists of his time, not only as a painter and illustrator but also a sculptor. By the end of his life, he was delving into a more Modern path, influenced by Impressionism and the group Ten American Painters. Remington died on December 1909 in Connecticut because of peritonitis after an emergency appendectomy.