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    Description

    Frederic Remington (American, 1861-1909)
    The Bronco Buster, conceived 1908, cast 1910
    Bronze with greenish-brown patina
    32-7/8 inches (83.5 cm) high
    Ed. 12/19
    Inscribed on base: Frederic Remington / Copyright by / Frederic Remington 1895
    Stamped 'Roman Bronze Works / NY / Cire Perdue Cast' and '12' on base

    PROPERTY FROM THE PERSONAL COLLECTION OF MORT KÜNSTLER

    PROVENANCE:
    Sotheby's, New York, December 3, 1998, lot 201;
    Acquired by the present owner from the above.

    EXHIBITED:
    The Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, "Mort Künstler: The Art of Adventure," November 15, 2014-March 8, 2015;
    Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, New York, "Norman Rockwell and Friends: American Illustrations from the Mort Künstler Collection," December 10, 2016-March 5, 2017.

    LITERATURE:
    B. Wear, The Bronze World of Frederick Remington, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1966, pp. 94-95, another example illustrated;
    M.E. Shapiro, Cast and Recast: The Sculpture of Frederic Remington, Washington, D.C., 1981, pp. 63-69, figs. 45-54, 91, other examples illustrated;
    M.D. Greenbaum, Icons of the West: Frederic Remington's Sculpture, Ogdensburg, New York, 1996, pp. 51-64, 184, other examples illustrated.

    Frederic Remington's The Bronco Buster is perhaps the quintessential image of American Western Art. This work represents Remington's first venture into sculpture, having already established himself as a celebrated easel painter. While Remington was not the first artist to depict this classic struggle between rider and horse, he may well have been the most successful in terms of capturing the movement, drama, and pure energy of the scuffle.

    By the time he tried his hand at sculpting and produced The Bronco Buster 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 work on what came to be his signature piece of art. He was delighted with the results of his first sculpting effort, writing to his friend, the writer Owen Wister, that "my oils will all get old...my watercolors will fade, but I am to endure in bronze".

    Shortly before Remington died in 1909, the sculptor made a large scale plaster model of his popular bronze, a 23 ½ inches high work that had been cast nearly three hundred times since its inception in 1895. In a letter to Riccardo Bertelli, owner and operator of the Roman Bronze Works, Remington stated "You ought to see the 1 ½ [scale] Bronco Buster. It will make your eyes hang out of your shirt-front. Get ready to retire the small one". A few changes were made when the sculpture was enlarged. According to Michael D. Greenbaum, "in the large version the hand is outstretched, as if to balance the rider in the saddle, whereas in the earlier version the cowboy holds a quirt. The horse's head also angles slightly in the larger version as if it were attempting to shake off the cowboy's grip on the reins" (Icons of the West, Ogdensburg, New York, 1996, p. 153).

    Only nineteen casts of this large example were made. Other versions of this large cast can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyoming.




    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2019
    1st Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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