The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Remington and Russell. By Brian W. Dippie. (Austin: University of
Texas Press, 1982. Pp. 188. Introduction, illustrations, bibliogra-
phy. $29.95.)
The aspiration of every authority on the old-time art of the Ameri-
can West is to get the chance to write a comparison of Frederic Rem-
ington and Charles Marion Russell as men and as artists. These were
the giants in their field, the hail-fellow-well-met and late-blooming im-
pressionist Remington versus Mr. Congeniality and soul-painting Rus-
sell. As the author of Remington and Russell, the catalog of the Sid W.
Richardson Collection in its new Fort Worth, Texas, home, Brian W.
Dippie properly devotes much of his ten-page introduction to such an
analysis.
Both Remington and Russell were born in the 186os, to moderately
well-off families living in the heartland between the western frontier
and the East Coast. Both went to Montana in the beginning of the
188os. Remington returned east, attended Yale, became part of the east-
ern establishment as a leading illustrator of the Golden Age, and was
a primary creator of the myth of the western cowboy. Russell remained
in Montana, worked as a real cowboy, and taught himself to paint what
he saw around him.
Dippie points out that Remington's aim was to portray western ac-
tion in a painterly manner, sometimes at the expense of accuracy of
detail. Remington had been a visitor in the West, whereas Russell, as
a true westerner, could take accuracy for granted, lingering in his paint-
ings over the landscape backgrounds that Remington abstracted. In
essence, Remington painted beauty and Russell poetry.
The book fails, however, in areas that were beyond Dippie's control.
The opening illustration is a painting ascribed to Remington that
would not be authenticated as a Remington by many of today's authori-
ties. In addition, the color photographs that are the essence of the book
vary in quality to such an extent that they seem to have been taken by
different persons for different purposes. Some, like The Sentinel, are
overvalued in intensity of color, while others, like Rounded-Up, are
washed out. In both instances, the Remington color touch is disturb-
ingly missing.
The book includes color photographs of nineteen Remingtons, fifty-
one Russells, and nine other western painters, along with notes on each
work.

PEGGY SAMUELS AND HAROLD SAMUELS

i12

Corrales, New Mexico

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117150/. Accessed May 28, 2015.