Frederic Remington (1861-1909)
Frederic Remington (1861-1909)

Hunting the Caribou--"Shoot! Shoot!" (Indians Stalking Caribou)

Frederic Remington (1861-1909)
Hunting the Caribou--"Shoot! Shoot!" (Indians Stalking Caribou)
signed 'Frederic Remington' (lower right)
oil en grisaille on canvas
20 x 32 in. (50.8 x 81.3 cm.)
Painted circa 1890.
Private collection.
Kennedy Galleries, Inc., New York, 1973.
Petersen Galleries, Beverly Hills, California.
Ray and Joan Kroc, acquired from the above, 1974.
By descent to the present owner.
J. Ralph, "Shoot! Shoot!", Harper's Weekly, January 11, 1890, pp. 24-25, illustrated.
H. McCracken, Frederic Remington: Artist of the Old West, with a Bibliographical Checklist of Remington Pictures and Books, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1947, p. 135.
D. Allen, H. McCracken, Frederic Remington's Own Outdoors, New York, 1964, p. 145, illustrated.
A.P. Splete, M.D. Splete, Frederic Remington--Selected Letters, New York, 1988, p. 83.
P.H. Hassrick, M.J. Webster, Frederic Remington: A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Watercolors and Drawings, vol. I, Cody, Wyoming, 1996, p. 319, no. 1011, illustrated.

Lot Essay

Celebrated as the artist who shaped popular culture's vision of the West, Frederic Remington enjoyed a successful artistic career which began in illustration. Although Remington's formal art training was scant--three semesters at Yale College School of Art in the late 1870s followed by three months at the Art Students League in 1886--his drawings and paintings are known for their masterful execution. Yet, "whatever academic excellence may be attributed to what he accomplished in paint, ink, clay and bronze, is transcended by its value as a documentary record and contribution to the early history of our great West. His work constitutes one of the most complete pictorializations of that most spectacular phase of the American scene." (H. McCracken, Frederic Remington: Artist of the Old West, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1947, p. 21)

Remington made his first trip out West in the summer of 1881, traveling through Montana, Wyoming, Kansas, the Dakotas and other Western territories not yet named. "To Frederic Remington, the nineteen-year-old Easterner, the raw and rugged life of the West seemed to be the answer to his restless desire--an engrossing romance, the pages of which he could hardly read and turn fast enough...He brought the artist's observant eye, an insatiable curiosity, a boundless interest in people and places...He sought out the roughest and most exciting parts of the country, and the roughest and most colorful of the people who gave the country its character." (Frederic Remington: Artist of the Old West, p. 33)

The following year marked the beginning of Remington's career in illustration with a work published in Harper's Weekly. Reminiscing about the start of his career twenty-five years later, the artist
recalled his lucky beginning: "Without knowing exactly how to do it, I began to try to record some facts around me, and the more I looked the more the panorama unfolded." (as quoted in Frederic Remington: Artist of the Old West, p. 34) In a desire to experience Western life firsthand, Remington purchased a sheep ranch near Peabody, Kansas, in 1883. This spurred a move to Kansas City in 1884 with his new bride, Eva Caten. However, the couple returned to New York within a year, suffering from poor financial decisions. Still, Remington's love of the West and curiosity to discover its stories was well established, and he continued to make frequent trips to the South and Northwest for artistic inspiration for years to come. In 1886, Remington's first cover illustration was published in the January 9th issue of Harper's Weekly. With this important publicity of his talents, Remington's illustrations were soon sought after by several New York magazines.

The present work was created as an illustration for an article by Julian Ralph in the January 1890 issue of Harper's Weekly and depicts two Chippewa Indians along the shore of Lake Superior. As with all of his most successful illustrative works, Remington's Hunting the Caribou--"Shoot! Shoot!" (Indians Stalking Caribou) not only accurately represents the tense and poised action of story but also imbeds the scene with details that allow viewers to experience for themselves the uncertainties and excitements of life in the western wilderness.

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