What Was Frederic Remington Best Known For?

American painter Info

American painter, illustrator, sculptor, and writer Frederic Sackrider Remington (October 4, 1861 – December 26, 1909) was an expert in Western American Art. His paintings are renowned for portraying the American West in the last quarter of the 19th century, and his works include figures like cowboys, American Indians, and the US Cavalry.

He was born in Canton, upstate New York, and relocated to Ogdensburg with his family in 1872. Remington enrolled in Yale University in September 1878 after spending the fall of 1875 attending Highland Military Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts. Remington started his art studies at Yale. He also studied drawing with John Henry Niemeyer at the School of Fine Arts while also pursuing his love of football. This was his only official art education, along with a three-month stint taking painting and sketching workshops at the Art Students League in New York City in the spring of 1886.

Many of Remington’s illustrations were published in well-known periodicals, including Harper’s Weekly and Scribner’s Magazine in the 1880s and 1890s. In addition, he wrote and published various books and articles that mostly functioned as platforms for his illustrations.

Early Life

His paternal ancestors left Alsace-Lorraine in the early 18th century and immigrated to America, where they had hardware stores. Early in the 1600s, members of his maternal family—who were of French Basque ancestry—came to America and established Windsor, Connecticut. After his ancestors emigrated to America from England in 1637, Remington’s father served as a colonel in the Union army during the American Civil War. He worked as a newspaper editor and postmaster, and his family, which was adamantly Republican, was involved in local politics.

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For most of his son’s first four years, Colonel Remington was at war. After the war, he briefly relocated his family to Bloomington, Illinois, where he worked as an editor of the Bloomington Republican, but in 1867 the family returned to Canton. Remington enjoyed unwavering love and support as the sole child of the union.

He was a boisterous kid who loved hunting, swimming, riding, and camping. However, he had terrible academic performance, especially in arithmetic, which did not bode well for his father’s hopes that his son would go to West Point. Nevertheless, he drew and sketched images of cowboys and warriors from an early age.

When Remington was eleven years old, the family relocated to Ogdensburg, New York, where he enrolled in the church-run military school Vermont Episcopal Institute, where his father thought that the strict environment would help his son’s lack of focus and eventually lead to a military career. Unfortunately, this move did not augur well, leaving Frederic with the description of a careless and lazy fellow.

Early Career

When artist Frederic Remington visited the Montana Territory in the summer of 1881, his lifelong fascination with the American West started to take shape. Two years later, he invested in a fourth of a Kansas sheep ranch, but his agricultural and business ventures in Kansas and Missouri were not financially successful.

In October 1884, he wed Eva Caten, and the following year he opened a studio in Kansas City, Missouri. The Wyoming cowboy from Remington’s first published sketch appeared in Harper’s Weekly on February 25, 1882. After touring the Southwest, he returned to New York in 1885, settled in Brooklyn, and quickly gained notoriety with black-and-white sketches showcasing both his creative prowess and his skill as a raconteur of frontier life. Remington’s illustrations appeared in forty-one periodicals between 1885 and 1913, including Harper’s Weekly, Collier’s, Century Magazine, and the prestigious pictorial magazine.

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Theodore Roosevelt, with whom he forged a close acquaintance, Owen Wister, Francis Parkman, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow are among the renowned authors whose works he also illustrated. Based on his adventures in the West, Remington also created his own books, articles, and illustrations. Throughout the Spanish-American War, he covered the conflict in Cuba as a war correspondent for the New York Journal. He eventually wrote short tales, eight anthologies of previously published magazine articles, and two novels, and much of his letter writing was reportorial. However, Remington’s early writing was primarily reportorial.

In the American West, Remington frequently went on sketching expeditions; his encounters with and observations of Native Americans, cavalrymen, scouts, and cowboys provided an unlimited supply of inspiration for frequently commissioned pictures.

What Was He Most Famous For?

The artwork of Frederic Remington that most people are familiar with features cowboys, soldiers, and Native Americans of the Old West. Remington, a Canton, New York native, grew interested in these themes at a young age.

Frederic Remington frequently traveled to the west. He cherished the notion of the frontier and had the utmost respect for the tough and valiant cowboys and soldiers he encountered there. As a journalist and illustrator, he was delighted to get to know them, learn about their lives, and follow them during his visits. Among other things, he admired them for appearing unfazed by the many aspects of frontier life that Remington himself could only just tolerate, such as the meager and sparse “grub,” the protracted horseback rides, and the lengthy intervals between bathing.

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Remington gathered an enormous amount of stuff on these journeys to utilize as props in his New Rochelle, New York, workshop to produce convincingly detailed drawings, paintings, and bronzes. Using a camera, he created his images for note-taking rather than as works of art. He purchased many readily accessible western landscapes and Native American portraits. He kept sketchbooks with him and drew everything, from far-off horizons to the specifics of the creases on leather boots.

Before he passed away at 48, he produced 22 different bronze sculptures. His paintings took on more complex aesthetic aims as he moved toward Impressionism.


Frederic Remington’s popularity stemmed from his love for depicting the lifestyle of the dwellers of the American West. His enormous respect for the tough cowboys and their way of life was duly represented in his artworks. Frederic tended towards Impressionism towards the end of his career, and his legacy as a painter and sculptor is great.



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