Another Frontier: Frederic Remington's East | through September 8th
Shifting the focus from Frederic Remington's popular Western imagery to his less familiar Eastern subjects, this special exhibition, Another Frontier: Frederic Remington's East, invites visitors to expand their knowledge of the context in which Remington worked, while gaining a deeper appreciation of his artistic talent.
The artwork on view, on loan from the Frederic Remington Art Museum in Ogdensburg, New York, is from the period in Remington's life and art when he yearned to move beyond his popular success as an illustrator to critical fame as a fine artist, and when he became enamored of painting landscapes in a newer style.
The artist himself declared in a 1907 interview:
“lately some of our American landscape artists—who are the best in the world—have worked their spell over me and to some extent influenced me, in so far as a figure painter can follow in their footsteps.”
Being in the East allowed Remington to develop a circle of artist friends and to keep current with art by visiting galleries in New York City.
Among Remington’s many friends, he particularly admired the artworks of Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf, John Twachtman, Robert Reid, and J. Alden Weir.
Affected by French Impressionism, their art exuded an immediacy and freshness of vision that appealed to Remington:
“By gad a fellow has got to trace to keep up now days—the pace is fast. Small canvass [sic] are best—all plein air [outdoor] color and outlines lost—hard outlines are the bane of old painters.”
As hugely important as the West was for Frederic Remington, and he for it, the East was another frontier that nurtured and sustained his art.
“I’d like to paint these things [North Country landscapes and sunsets], but the people won’t stand for it—they want cowboys and Indians. . . .”
Frederic Remington’s art has so profoundly shaped our perceptions of the Old West that we only vaguely, if at all, recall that he was an Easterner born and bred. He grew up in Canton and Ogdensburg, New York—the North Country, the forested region stretching from the Adirondack Mountains across the St. Lawrence River into Canada. He attended Yale (briefly), settled in the West (also, briefly), and then lived and had studios in New York (Brooklyn, Manhattan, New Rochelle, and Ingleneuk Island) and Ridgefield, Connecticut. He made numerous trips to the West over the years, but composed his multitude of illustrations, paintings, sculptures, and writings in the East.