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    Sale 2058

    Important American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture

    4 December 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 152

    Frederic Remington (1861-1909)

    'The Broncho Buster'

    Price Realised  


    Frederic Remington (1861-1909)
    'The Broncho Buster'
    inscribed 'Frederic Remington.' and 'CAST BY THE HENRY BONNARD BRONZE CO N-Y.1895.' and stamped 'R. 12.' (on the base)--inscribed 'Copyrighted 1895./by Frederic Remington.' (along the base)--stamped 'RR12' (beneath the base)
    bronze with brown patina
    24 in. (61 cm.) high

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    Nowhere in Frederic Remington's oeuvre is the cowboy more celebrated than in his first bronze subject, The Broncho Buster. Originally conceived in 1895, The Broncho Buster, depicting a cowboy breaking in a wild horse, was an immediate success, symbolizing all that was triumphant and heroic of the West. By the 1890s, Remington was a renowned illustrator, painter and an accomplished writer but never complacent as an artist, he wanted to expand his repertoire of talent to include something "in the round as well as the flat."

    In 1894, Remington was completing an illustration for a story by Owen Wister to be illustrated in Harper's Monthly, entitled "The Second Missouri Compromise." The scene depicts a group of eight men sitting and standing around a table in a complex interior scene with the focus being a cowboy drawing his gun at the central group. "Remington, sketching without models, realized that this arrangement obscured the details of the background and dwarfed the secondary figures. He quickly rubbed out his first attempt, moved the cowboy backward and the lesser figures forward. Remington intuitively visualized his figures from all sides, not just as flat images, as would be expected of an illustrator. [Augustus] Thomas said, 'Fred, you're not a draftsman; you're a sculptor. You saw all around that fellow, and could have put him anywhere you wanted him. They call that the sculptor's degree of vision.'" (as quoted in P.J. Broder, Bronzes of the American West, New York, 1974, p. 131) The final illustration, "'Don't Hurt Anybody,' Said Specimen Jones" proved to be the catalyst for Remington's introduction and experimentation with bronze and would result in the artist's first sculptural endeavor and ultimately the artist's most popular model, The Broncho Buster.

    "The Broncho Buster was a great success. Within three weeks of the copyright, Arthur Hoeber wrote in Harper's Weekly: 'He has handled his clay in a masterly way, with great freedom and certainty of touch, and in a manner to call forth the surprise and admiration not only of his fellow craftsmen, but of sculptors as well. Mr. Remington has struck his gait, and that, much as he has accomplished in an illustrative way, more remains for him to do, and other roads are open to him. With youth, health and energy, who shall say how far he may not go? And his is a distinctly American field.'" (As quoted in P.J. Broder, Bronzes of the American West, New York, 1974, p. 133)

    The present cast was originally sold through Lindsey & Co. in Philadelphia, one of Remington's primary early bronze dealers, and is one of only sixty-four casts produced by the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Co., before the artist switched to Roman Bronze Works. Once Remington switched foundries he also switched from sand casting to the method of lost wax, allowing him to vary the details in each cast, which subsequently altered the overall appearance of the work and resulted in a less consistently modeled form.

    The Broncho Buster was the first statue in America of a rider on a bucking horse, an image that would be often imitated in the following years and continues to the present as a popular and representative depiction of the West. Although he experienced a short-lived career, Remington's popularity and acclaim was wide even during his lifetime. As a testament to the endurance and popularity of his imagery, cast 31 was presented by the Rough Riders to Theodore Roosevelt in 1898. Roosevelt would later say of Remington: 'he has portrayed a most characteristic and yet vanishing type of American life. The soldier, the cowboy and rancher, the Indian, the horses and cattle of the plains, will live in his pictures and bronzes, I verily believe, for all time." (Bronzes of the American West, p. 124)


    [With]Lindsay & Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    Richard Taylor, New York.
    Christie's, New York, 3 June 1983, lot 125.
    Acquired by the present owner from the above.

    Pre-Lot Text

    Property of an Important New York Collection


    H. McCracken, Frederic Remington: Artist of the Old West, New York, 1947, n.p., pl. 41, another example illustrated.
    P. Hassrick, Frederic Remington, Fort Worth, Texas, 1973, p. 33, no. 53, another example illustrated.
    P. Hassrick, Frederic Remington: Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture in the Amon Carter Museum and the Sid W. Richardson Foundation Collections, New York, 1973, pp. 180-81, another example illustrated.
    M.E. Shapiro, Cast and Recast: The Sculpture of Frederic Remington, exhibition catalogue, Washington, D.C., 1981, p. 41, another example illustrated.
    M.E. Shapiro and P. Hassrick, Frederic Remington: The Masterworks, New York, 1988, p. 172, pls. 47-48, another example illustrated.
    J. Ballinger, Frederic Remington, New York, 1989, p. 74, another example illustrated.
    Gerald Peters Gallery, Frederic Remington, exhibition catalogue, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1991, pp. 12, 119, 121, 123, another example illustrated.
    R. Stewart, Frederic Remington: Masterpieces from the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, 1992, pp. 24-25, another example illustrated.
    M.D. Greenbaum, Icons of the West: Frederic Remington's Sculpture, Ogdensburg, New York, 1996, pp. 51-64, 171, another example illustrated.
    E. Neff, Frederic Remington: The Hogg Brothers Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, Texas, 2000, pp. 59-60, no. 7, another example illustrated.
    B. Dippie, The Frederic Remington Art Museum Collection, Ogdensburg, New York, 2001, pp. 112-13, another example illustrated.


    New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, September 1986-April 1987, on loan.
    New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, September 1998-March 1999, on loan.