Notes and Documents
Remington in the Southwest
PETER H. HASSRICK*
A S HIS TRAIN RATTLED SOUTH ACROSS COLORADO AND NEW MEXICO IN
the early summer of 1886, Frederic Remington peered eagerly
out the window at the passing landscape. His mind looked ahead to-
ward the unseen land of his dreams and fixed plainly on the purpose
of his travels-the documentation of the final chapter in the Geronimo
campaign.' Not yet twenty-five, Remington was taking the first serious
step toward becoming a professional artist and illustrator. The South-
west set the stage.
Remington had decided on an artist's career many years before. His
artistic ability had been evident since childhood, and at age sixteen he
was admitted to the School of the Fine Arts at Yale. Academic training
soon bored him, however, and after his father's death in 188o, Reming-
ton left school to take up clerical work in Albany, New York. This
proved even less stimulating than the Yale curriculum. In the summer
of i881 he decided tb venture west where, according to the hometown
newspaper, he intended "to make trial of life on a ranche."'2 Although
he spent less than two months in the West that summer, the effect of his
exposure was profound. While in Montana one August evening during
this trip he had the good fortune to share the campfire of an old freight-
er. The impressionable Remington, not yet out of his teens, listened
intently as his host lamented the demise of the frontier. "I knew the wild
riders and the vacant land were about to vanish forever," Remington
recounted later, "and the more I considered the subject the bigger the
Forever loomed. Without knowing exactly how to do it, I began to
record some facts around me, and the more I looked the more the
panorama unfolded.""3 Within two years he had resigned his position in
* Mr. Hassrick is curator of collections at the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art.
The author's forthcoming work on Remington's life and artistic career will be published
this year as a catalogue of the Amon Carter Museum and Sid W. Richardson collections,
by Harry N. Abrams.
1 Remington Journal, summer, 1886, Robert Taft Papers (Kansas State Historical Society,
Topeka, Kansas) .
2 St. Lawrence Plaindealer, August io, 1881.
3 Frederic Remington, "A Few Words from Mr. Remington," Collier's, XXXIV (March
18, 1905), 16.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101202/. Accessed May 25, 2013.