Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Art Review - Frederic Remington Nocturnes at the National Cowboy Museum

For today's #museumtourtuesday, I have two nocturnes by Frederic Remington to share. These are both part of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum's collection.

Remington had such great skill in creating believable night scenes, many of which are subtly illuminated only by the moonlight. These two paintings feature a more dramatic color range, utilizing the glow of the fire to cast a warmer light on the subjects.

This piece was created for Collier's Weekly, and was published after the artist's death. Remington was under contract to produce one painting per month for the magazine, and was well paid at $1,000.00 per painting, a hefty sum for the time.

"In From the Night Herd"  • Frederic Remington  • Oil on Canvas 
• 27" x 40" • 1907

As always, it's the design that stands out for me. Notice the clear path your eye follows up from the sleeping figure at the bottom, curving around to rest on the standing figure and the horse, both of which point back again towards the figures on the ground. I find it very interesting that the horse's head hides behind that of the cowboy, combining them into almost one entity. 

"Hunter's Supper" • Frederic Remington • Oil on canvas • 27" x 30"• 1909

This would have been one of Remington's final paintings, completed and sold just before his death in December of 1909.

The campfire is the clear center of interest, not only due to the value contrast created by the surrounding figures, but also through the use of color temperature contrasts created by the warm fire transitioning into the cooler smoke. There is also a unique textural detail that you can see more clearly in a detail image.

"Hunter's Supper" Detail • Frederic Remington • Oil on canvas • 27" x 30"• 1909

There’s one strange detail in this painting that can be overlooked upon first viewing.

The paint just under the arm of the figure on the right is extremely thick. While we can see the grain of the canvas everywhere else, this one spot is heavy impasto. I can only presume that it is not a mistake. It may be an attempt to push the focal point to that area through the use of texture.

Painting photos by Kimberly at Saunders Fine Arts.

© Patrick and Kimberly Saunders, Patrick Saunders Fine Arts, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s authors/owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Patrick Saunders for painted works, or to Kimberly Saunders for photographs and/or videos, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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