• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2058

    Important American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture

    4 December 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 71

    Frederic Remington (1861-1909)

    'The Outlaw'

    Price Realised  

    Frederic Remington (1861-1909)
    'The Outlaw'
    inscribed 'Copyright by/Frederic Remington' (on the base)--stamped 'ROMAN BRONZE WORKS. N.Y.' (along the base)--inscribed 'N14'(beneath the base)
    bronze with brownish-green patina
    23 in. (58.4 cm.) high


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    The subject of the cowboy was always a central and important theme to Frederic Remington's work. The artist had written in 1895 that "with me, cowboys are what gems and porcelains are to some others." ("Cracker Cowboys of Florida," Harper's Monthly, April 1895, p. 329) Remington's keen observations and unabashed love for the cowboy and his way of life found direct expression in many of his published drawings and paintings. He also maintained an extensive collection of photographs that contained related images of rearing horses and cowboys that he drew upon for developing the intricate modeling found in his sculptures. The Outlaw, a subject derived from Remington's cachet of works devoted to the rearing horse and rider, reflected the artist's incredible attention to detail combined with the ingenious rendering of a specific action, intense movement and sublime balance.

    Charles H. Caffin commented in a December 1898 issue of Harper's Weekly that "there is no question of [Remington's] mental picture. It is of the most vivid and assured kind, resulting from a faculty of observation quite extraordinary in its comprehensiveness. What he has seen in his study of horses and their riders he has seen with such completeness that he can record with accuracy an action which passed before his eyes like a flash." (as quoted in M.E. Shapiro, "Frederic Remington: The Sculptor," in Frederic Remington: The Masterworks, New York, 1988, p. 192)

    In a 1905 Christmas card to Roman Bronze Works owner, Riccardo Bertelli, Remington drew a sketch for the model of The Outlaw and posed the question, "Can you cast this?" and playfully added his own response on behalf of Bertelli, "Do you think I am one of the Wright brothers?" The dramatic and ambitious pose of the figure on the bucking horse would be an exciting challenge for both the artist and foundry. Fifteen casts of The Outlaw were produced during Remington's lifetime. As a result, the approximately twenty-five remaining casts produced by Roman Bronze Works following the artist's death were altered by the foundry and lacked the complex rendering and attention to detail that the artist placed on each cast he had previously overseen. The present example, cast number 14, retains the artful balance and sophisticated posturing that demonstrates both Remington's and Bertelli's bold and experimental use of the bronze medium.

    "Throughout his career Remington depicted in two and three dimensions the tenacity and balance of the 'wild riders'--the men who tamed saddle horses. He wrote that, 'the 'bucking' process is entered into with great spirit by the pony but once, and that is when he is first under the saddle-tree. If that 'scrape' is 'ridden out' by his master the broncho's spirit is broken." (as quoted in M.D. Greenbaum, Icons of the West: Frederic Remington's Sculpture, Ogdensburg, New York, 1996, p. 133) The Outlaw is Remington's ultimate tribute to the rapidly changing era of the cowboy that he had devoted his life and art to documenting.

    Provenance

    Alexander MacNichol.
    Estate of the above.
    Sale: Butterfield & Butterfield, San Franciso, California, October 1980, lot 350.
    Acquired by the present owner from the above.


    Pre-Lot Text

    Property of an Important New York Collection


    Literature

    H. McCracken, Frederic Remington: Artist of the Old West, New York, 1947, n.p., pl. 46, another example illustrated.
    The Paine Art Center and Arboretum, Frederic Remington: A Retrospective Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture, exhibition catalogue, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, 1967, n.p., no. 56, 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. 202-3, another example illustrated.
    Denver Art Museum, Frederic Remington: The Late Years, exhibition catalogue, Denver, Colorado, 1981, p. 61, another example illustrated.
    M.E. Shapiro, Cast and Recast: The Sculpture of Frederic Remington, exhibition catalogue, Washington, D.C., 1981, pp. 55, 107, no. 36, illustrated.
    M.E. Shapiro and P. Hassrick, Frederic Remington: The Masterworks, New York, 1988, p. 216, pl. 61, another example illustrated.
    Gerald Peters Gallery, Frederic Remington, exhibition catalogue, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1991, p. 63, another example illustrated.
    M.D. Greenbaum, Icons of the West: Frederic Remington's Sculpture, Ogdensburg, New York, 1996, pp. 133-37, 193, another example illustrated.
    Gerald Peters Gallery, Remington: The Years of Critical Acclaim, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1998, pp. 116-17, another example illustrated.
    B. Dippie, The Frederic Remington Art Museum Collection, Ogdensburg, New York, 2001, pp. 170-71, another example illustrated.


    Exhibited

    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.