FREDERIC REMINGTON (American, 1861-1909). The Outlaw #5 . Bronze with dark brown patina. 23-1/4 x 14 x 8 inches (59.1 x ...
The Outlaw #5
Bronze with dark brown patina
23-1/4 x 14 x 8 inches (59.1 x 35.6 x 20.3 cm)
Numbered No 5 beneath the base
Inscribed on base: Copyrighted / Frederic Remington
Foundry Mark on base: Roman Bronze Works
Copyrighted May 3, 1906
PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE ARIZONA COLLECTOR
PARTIAL PROCEEDS OF THE SALE OF THIS LOT WILL BENEFIT
THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA HONORS COLLEGE
Heritage Auctions would like to extend our appreciation to Mr. Michael Greenbaum for his assistance in researching this lot.
Newhouse Galleries, New York;
Kennedy Galleries, New York;
Harry Havemeyer Webb, Vermont;
Thence by descent to the present owner.
Bruce Wear, The Bronze World of Frederic Remington, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1966, illustrations of other examples pp. 82-83;
Harold McCracken, The Frederic Remington Book: A Pictorial History of the West, Garden City, New York, 1966, illustration of another example fig. 378;
Peter Hassrick, Frederic Remington: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture in the Amon Carter Museum and the Sid W. Richardson Foundation Collections, New York, 1973, illustration of another example p. 202;
Michael Shapiro, Cast and Recast: The Sculpture of Frederic Remington, Washington, D.C., 1981, illustration of another example fig. 36;
Michael Shapiro and Peter Hassrick, Frederic Remington: The Masterworks, New York, 1988, illustration of another example p. 216;
Michael Greenbaum, Icons of the West: Frederic Remington's Sculpture, Ogdensburg, New York, 1996, illustrations of other examples pp. 134-137.
This work is guaranteed by Heritage to be an authorized casting, however, due to the differing opinions of casting dates which currently exist amongst Remington scholars, we would like to advise all interested parties to fully review the research and textual citations provided in this catalogue entry, as well as any available outside information sources, to their full satisfaction.
The facility with which renowned artist Frederic Remington mastered new mediums was nothing less than extraordinary. Remington first became popular as a proficient illustrator before receiving national acclaim as a sophisticated painter in oil. However, his accomplishments as a sculptor in the bronze medium may be as remarkable as any. Remington first began experimenting with clay or "mud" (1) as he called it in late fall of 1894 (2) in response to the encouragement of his friends, sculptor Frederick Ruckstull and playwright Augustus Thomas. The latter remarked to him, "Fred, you're not a draftsman; you're a sculptor. You saw all around that fellow, and could have put him anywhere you wanted him. They call that the sculptor's degree of vision."(3) Completely engrossed in exploring the new medium, the artist set out to sculpt a rearing horse and rider statuette. Remington immediately took to the new challenges of sculpting, writing to his friend Owen Wister in October of 1895, "I am modeling - I find I do well."(4) Remington did more than well; the completed model, The Broncho Buster, was cast the following year and became an immediate sensation. Remington's first attempt in the medium of bronze sculpture is known today most simply as an icon of American art.
For five years, Remington cast his bronzes at the Henry Bonnard Foundry, using the sand cast method. Sometime before 1900 he met Ricardo Bertelli, a young Italian founder trying to establish a new foundry in Brooklyn in which to practice the lost wax casting method. An ancient method for casting bronze, the lost wax technique had been revived during the Italian Renaissance and had recently become popular with American sculptors living in Europe; however, the method had no tradition in the Americas and no practitioners in the United States. The establishment of Bertelli's Roman Bronze Works foundry introduced the lost wax method of casting in the United States and revolutionized sculpture in America. The fluidity of wax allowed for casting minute details, never possible with sand casting, providing a richly-textured surface that was previously unobtainable. More importantly, lost wax casting allowed artists to make adjustments to their wax models, allowing each cast to be a customized and unique work.
From 1900 until his early death in 1909, Remington explored the medium of bronze sculpture and the lost wax technique with a passion unrivaled among artists in America. He was often present during the casting process and experimented with sculpture's tactile qualities (often using both smooth and rough surfaces in the same sculpture), the manipulation or customization of individual casts, the representation of movement, and, importantly, the subtleties of colored patinas. Ultimately, Remington became the method's greatest and most daring practitioner of the era.
In Remington's sculpture The Outlaw, copyrighted in 1906, the artist returned to his successful bucking horse and rider subject. Unlike The Broncho Buster in which the animal rears, the sculptor described the horse's movement in this later work as "pitching."(5) In The Outlaw, the horse jumps onto its front foot which is connected to a sagebrush shrub for support. Remington routinely experimented with his sculptures' support and, on occasion, the base even played a role in the narrative. In The Outlaw, the artist intended to minimize the appearance of support derived from the base as much as possible. The work is an exercise in how a sculptor can exploit the tensile strength of bronze; in this sculpture there is so little support that the rider looks as though he is suspended in mid-air. Remington accentuated the tension in the rider's body by finely delineating the wrinkles in his shirt in order to draw the viewer's attention to the rider's breaking point. This horse and rider typifies Remington's eternal narrative, one of conflict between man and nature, in this case, man versus animal.
This Roman Bronze Works cast #5 of The Outlaw has all the fine detail and tactile surface quality that is characteristic of Remington's signature bronze sculptures and is a high quality lost wax cast. Its dark patination differs from the two casts that preceded it numerically, both of which are green, a possible sign of customization or experimentation. In all, Roman Bronze Works foundry cast approximately forty statuettes of The Outlaw, however not all of these were cast during the artist's lifetime. Michael D. Greenbaum states in Icons of The West: Frederic Remington's Sculpture, "Apparently only fifteen castings were produced during the artist's lifetime."(6) The Roman Bronze Works ledger associates cast #5 of The Outlaw with the date 12/30/1911; however, this does not necessarily categorize it as a posthumous work. There are at least two important considerations which suggest a pre-1909 date. First, the ledger dates are not cast dates, but rather denote dates of disbursements and payments received by the foundry. This accounts for why dates associated with sculptures are often the last day of a given month and explains large reconciliations at the end of the year. The date associated with cast #5, 12/30/1911, is likely one such example of an end-of-year reconciliation. Simply put, the dates in Roman Bronze Works' records are more closely aligned with the dates bronze sculptures might have first sold. Secondly, although it is known that Roman Bronze Works did not always cast in sequential numerical order, this is the exception rather than the rule, and most often the foundry appears to have been relatively consistent in their enumeration of casts. For example, the ledger records dates for casts #6 and #9 of The Outlaw as the final day of 1907, and for casts #7, #8 and #14 as the last day of 1909 (five days after Remington's death). All of these casts numerically fall after #5. Since the ledger dates are accounting dates rather than cast dates and not all of the Roman Bronze Works records are extant, a definitive answer as to the exact casting date for most, if not all, Remington bronzes does not exist. However, in light of these considerations, and given the evidence of the sculpture's high casting quality, it is logical to assume that the #5 cast of The Outlaw was made during the artist's lifetime.
Thomas Brent Smith
Director, Petrie Institute of Western American Art
Denver Art Museum
September 25, 2013
1. Ben Merchant Vorpahl, My Dear Wister! The Frederic Remington-Owen Wister Letters (Palo Alto, California: American West, 1972), 165.
2. Michael E. Shapiro, Cast and Recast: The Sculpture of Frederic Remington (Washington, DC.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1981), 37. Cast and Recast is considered the pioneering work on Remington's sculpture. Also see Shapiro's work on Remington expanded on in Michael D. Greenbaum, Icons of the American West: Frederic Remington's Sculpture (Ogdensburg, NY: Frederic Remington Art Museum, 1996). For an insightful overview of Remington's art see Michael E. Shapiro and Peter H. Hassrick, Frederic Remington: The Masterworks (New York: Harry H. Abrams Inc., in association with the Saint Louis Art Museum, 1988).
3. Augustus Thomas, "Recollections of Frederic Remington," Century 86 (July 1913): 361.
4. Frederic Remington to Owen Wister, January 1895, Owen Wister Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
5. Greenbaum, Icons of the American West, 133.
Condition Report*:Condition report available upon request.
Remington, Frederic:By the time of his death in 1909, Frederic Remington was perhaps the most widely known artist of western subjects in the world. Adept as both a painter and sculptor, Remington created a body of work that in many ways defined the idea of the American West in the popular imagination. His paintings and drawings were seen by thousands of people throughout the world through such popular publications as Harper's Weekly, Scribner's, and Collier's. He was admired by Theodore Roosevelt and writer Owen Wister (author of The Virginian) and illustrated the writings of both men. For much of his artistic career, Remington focused on western archetypes, calling his cowboys, trappers, and soldiers "men with the bark on." His career as a western artist got off to a rough start. As a boy growing up in upstate New York, Remington dreamed of an adventurous life in the Old West. After spending a year at Yale, where he studied art and starred on the football team, Remington used a small inheritance from his father, to travel to Montana in search of the West of his imagination. Soon after arriving in Montana, he shared a campfire with a veteran freight wagon driver, who told Remington that the West he was in search of was rapidly disappearing. Rather than being discouraged, Remington was inspired to capture the West in pictures as rapidly as possible. That first trip was made in 1881, and by 1886 Remington had his first western image published. By 1890, thanks to extensive travels on assignment for the leading magazines of the day, Remington was established as the country's leading painter of western subjects. When he first tried his hand at sculpting in 1895, Remington had already gained national prominence as an illustrator and critical acclaim as a painter. Remarkably, he had no prior training or experience in sculpting when he started modeling his first subject of a precarious rider on a bucking horse. The Broncho Buster would come to be recognized as his signature work of art. By rejecting the confines of sand casting and implementing the lost wax method of casting, Remington revolutionized American sculpture and seemingly freed his subjects from the bounds of gravity. He was delighted with the results of his first sculpting effort and wrote to his friend Owen Wister that "my oils will all get old...my watercolors will fade, but I am to endure in bronze."
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