Was Frederic Remington (1861-1909) an artist or an illustrator? An artist, it might be said, creates works that stand alone, whereas an illustrator produces scenes that are part of a theme, perhaps as part of a publication. Many of Remington's works were done to accompany written articles or to express themes. Still, his illustrations depict episodes and characters and activities and ceremonies--often populated with cowboys, miners, cavalrymen, and Indians as well as horses, cattle, and bison. Many of these subjects are animated, "doing something". In sum the myriad works he produced create a theme in themselves--of the West of the last century that was at its heyday but already beginning to vanish. So? Artist? Illustrator? Perhaps a bit of both. You decide. It could be said that Remington started more as an illustrator and moved more to an artist.
But what was Remington's importance in his world and in ours? National magazines of the day published not only his artwork (illustrations?) but also aticles he wrote. Frederic Remington Selected Writings (Castle Press, 1981) reprints 43 of them. The pictures he drew and painted must number in the thousands, and he also did bronze sculptures with scenes being horses, their riders, and Indians, again often in action.
Much of Remington's original material is in museums today, including the Western History Collection of the Denver Public Library. He did all this (and a great deal more in ranching and business pursuits) in a life of only 48 years! Gerard Altoff in the preface to the VistaBooks Ranch Life in the American West by Theodore Roosevelt (see below) notes "Frederic Remington needs little introduction to most Western American buffs, for he was a prolific illustrator of frontier life. Thus he was an excellent choice to draw the sketches for Roosevelt's ranching articles. In fact, Roosevelt himself insited on Remington."
And thus several of the historical reprints that VistaBooks has reproduced (see below) include Remington illustrations that were either included with the original writings when published or selected for addition being expressive of the content. A hope is that with this introduction to Frederic Remington, even "non-Western Americana buffs" will understand him better and appreciate his subjects and their times as an element of American history It is where we came from--VistaBooks.
Author Virginia was 12 years old when her family left Springfield, Illinois to trek across the plains to California, their intended new home, along with 25 fellow emigrants. Along the way, her grandmother died, her pony had to be left, her family lost their oxen and had to abandon a wagon with their possessions, her stepfather killed a man and was banished from the train, and then she and her group were trapped in snows at the eastern foot of the Sierra Nevada crest at and near what is now Donner Lake and Truckee, California. As a result, 13 of those who started with her in Springfield, and 29 more who joined her along the way, never did cross those mountains. Here is the little girl's story, written by her later as an adult, now a part of the American epic of winning the West. Reprinted from Century Magazine with illustrations added from Frederic Remington and others. 64 pages. See sample pages, illustrations,[including all Frederic Remington illustrations from "Across the Plains in the Donner Party" to be added].
ISBN: 978-0-89646-099-7.Order #: VIST0099 paper$7.95.
by Charles B. Gillespie.
This story is set in Coloma, the California gold discovery site of 1848. But it might have happened at any of the gold-rush sites of the West--Virginia City, Cripple Creek, the Klondike--and it probably did, but only on Sunday. Town was a lively place the one day the mines were shut down, with a mix of nationalities engaging in gambling, auctions, horse-racing, shopping for clothes and supplies, eating, drinking, brawling, and general tom-foolery as you might expect from a bunch of young men from all over the world who were off to a get-rich adventure. llustrations are from early sources, including the original article of 1891, Frederic Remington, and the Crocker Art Museum. 16 pages. See sample pages, illustrations, [including all Frederic Remington illustrations from "A Miner/s Sunday, 1849" [to be added].
ISBN-10: 0-89646-005-3. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-005-8. Order #: VIST0005 paper$3.95.
by Colonel Henry Inman with "Buffalo Bill" Cody.
America nearly lost its buffalo (or bison, to be more accurate), but in an early conservation effort a small herd was retained. This has now grown into a sizable population, which recall to us the vast herds that once roamed and even blackened the plains. This story, however, is told by one who at one point in his career was actively engaged in slaughtering the animals. They were a nuisance that got in the way of the new trains, and, besides, eliminating buffaloes might help in subduing Indians. Life habits of the animal are given as well, and what better way to learn of the place in our history of the buffalo than by reading an account by one of the principals in their history. Reprinted from 1898. Illustrations are by Frederic Remington and others. 48 pages. See sample pages, illustrations, including all Frederic Remington illustrations from "The Buffalo, 1898" [to be added].
ISBN-10: 0-89646-028-2. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-028-7. Order #: VIST0028 paper$4.95.
Famous Gunfighters of the Western Frontier. by W. B. (Bat) Masterson.
Biographies of gunfighters by the master himself, including Ben Thompson, Wyatt Earp, Luke Short, Buffalo Bill Cody, Doc Holliday, Billy Tilghman, Bat Masterson, and others. Includes Tombstone's famous fight at the O.K. Corral, how Holliday got into his career, Indian battles, stagecoach wrecks and holdups, barroom brawls, sheriffs of the West, gambling and gamblers, cattle rustlers, railroads. Settings include cowtowns--Dodge, Hays, Sheridan, Cody, Leadville, Fort Worth, Glenwood Springs. Reprinted from 1907.
Illustrations are by Frederic Remington and others. 48 pages. See sample pages, illustrations, including all Frederic Remington illustrations from "Famous Gunfighters of the Western Frontier" [to be added].
Illustrations from the original and period sources, including Frederic Remington. 96 pages.
ISBN-10: 0-89646-087-8. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-087-4. Order #: VIST0087 paper$6.95.
by Theodore Roosevelt.
After being president, Roosevelt stated "I would not have been president had it not been for my experience in North Dakota" And so here are his experiences, as he wrote about them, of cattle, ranching, sheriff's work, hunting game, and frontier types. Tales of round-ups, breaking broncos, and arresting thieves are included, as well as the harshness of the winters on his Elkhorn Ranch, much of which is now in the Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park. Foreword is by park naturalist Gerard T. Altoff. Reprinted from 1888 and 1893. Illustrated primarily with engravings done by Frederic Remington for the original publication. 96 large-format pages. See sample pages, illustrations, including all Frederic Remington illustrations from Ranch Life in the Far West: [to be added].
ISBN-10: 0-89646-034-7. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-034-8. Order #: VIST0034 paper$9.95.
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