The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998 Page: 262
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
strenuous life, the then-dominant cult of masculinity. His self-confident
stance, it has been suggested, may have been more pose than true posture.
He created strong images, but in the view of many contemporary critics they
are simply the wrong images.
Generally speaking the critics who disdain Remington don't like his con-
temporaries either. A typical dust-up occurred five years ago in the Journal of
Arizona History. In the Summer 1992 issue Ron Tyler critiqued the catalogue
of a western art show sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution. The cata-
logue was redolent of Marxist psycho-babble that careened wildly from one
dubious assertion to the next about hidden messages contained in the works
on display. The salvo continued in the fall issue with neither side conceding
ground and with Remington at center stage. The smoke has never cleared.
Fifteen years ago Peggy and Harold Samuels produced Remington's defin-
itive biography; now, Peter Hassrick, assisted by Melissa Webster, presents a
catalogue raisonn6 as close to definitive as human endeavor could possibly
come. Hassrick's opening chapter succinctly describes Remington's develop-
ment as an artist, leaving no doubt that he was fully aware of developing
trends in art and was trying new approaches right up to his premature death
at forty-eight. In the next chapter co-author Webster describes Remington's
work habits and the processes by which his work was reproduced. She also has
an interesting passage on identifying and dealing with fakes. The third chap-
ter, the longest and most significant, is Hassrick's summary of a century's
worth of critical opinion regarding Remington's prodigious output. It is
absorbing reading. The prefatory essays are then followed by the catalogue
raisonn6, a monumental achievement. It is organized chronologically in two
parts: Not Illustrated in the Artist's Lifetime and Illustrated. The latter is
divided into book appearances (alphabetically by title) and periodical appear-
ances (by date). The system works okay except when an illustration produced
in one year gets reproduced in another, at which point better cross-referenc-
ing would be desirable.
Necessarily, most of the picture reproductions are quite small, but the
inside front cover of Volume I contains a CD-ROM that allows a detailed study
of the color images. The typesetting is pleasing and easy on the eye.
Moreover, the pictures that illustrate the prefatory essays are in convenient
proximity to their references in the text, a convenience that too few designers
deign to consider.
Clearly Remington will always have his detractors among the folks
down the hall, but for the folks down the street it is a different matter.
There will always be those who respond to the drama of his pictures, to his
deft handling of blinding Southwestern sunlight or brittle desert nights.
He can no more be swept under the rug than Teddy Roosevelt can be
effaced from Mount Rushmore. But there will always be those who would
like to try.
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998, periodical, 1998; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117155/m1/314/: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.