Frederic Remington (1861-1909)
Frederic Remington (1861-1909)
Frederic Remington (1861-1909)
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Frederic Remington (1861-1909)
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The Legend of the West: Iconic Works from the T. Boone Pickens Collection
Frederic Remington (1861-1909)

The Broncho Buster

Frederic Remington (1861-1909)
The Broncho Buster
inscribed 'Frederic Remington' and 'CAST BY THE HENRY-BONNARD BRONZE CO. N-Y. 1895.' and stamped 'R 10' (on the base)—inscribed 'Copyrighted 1895./by Frederic Remington.' (along the base)—stamped 'R 10' (under the base)
bronze with brown patina
24 in. (61 cm.) high
Modeled in 1895; cast circa 1895.
Reese L. and Virginia Milner, Beverly Hills, California, circa late 1950s.
Sotheby's, New York, 24 May 2006, lot 206, sold by the above.
Acquired by the late owner from the above.
H. McCracken, Frederic Remington: Artist of the Old West, New York, 1947, n.p., pl. 41, another example illustrated.
H. McCracken, The Frederic Remington Book: A Pictoral History of the West, Garden City, New York, 1966, pp. 255-56, another example illustrated.
The American Connoisseur, June 1967, p. 142, another example illustrated.
The Connoisseur, August 1967, cover, 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.
B. Wear, The 2nd Bronze World of Frederic Remington, Upper Montclair, New Jersey, 1976, pp. 56-57, another example illustrated.
M.E. Shapiro, Cast and Recast: The Sculpture of Frederic Remington, Washington, D.C., 1981, pp. 63-69, another example illustrated.
M.E. Shapiro, P. Hassrick, Frederic Remington: The Masterworks, New York, 1988, pp. 172, 186, pls. 47-48, another example illustrated.
J. Ballinger, Frederic Remington, New York, 1989, p. 74, 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.
B. Dippie, The Frederic Remington Art Museum Collection, Ogdensburg, New York, 2001, pp. 18, 112-17, another example illustrated.
P. Hassrick, Frederic Remington: A Catalogue Raisonné II, Norman, Oklahoma, 2016, pp. 57-59, 121, 123, 125, 160-61, 171, another example illustrated.

Brought to you by

Tylee Abbott
Tylee Abbott

Lot Essay

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. The artist observed, “my oils will all get old and watercolors will fade—but I am to endure in bronze...I am doing a cowboy on a bucking bronco and I am going to rattle down through the ages.” (as quoted in P. Hassrick, Frederic Remington: The Masterworks, New York, 1988, p. 182)

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 subject of the cowboy was always a central and important theme to 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 Broncho Buster, 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.

The Broncho Buster was originally cast by Henry-Bonnard Bronze Co. in 1895. The foundry produced a total of 64 sand castings of the bronze between 1895 and 1900, making the present work a lifetime cast. Michael Greenbaum writes, "Approximately the first forty sand castings of The Broncho Buster made through 1898 bear production years; the remaining twenty-four castings in the edition generally do not contain the year, but as indicated by Remington’s records the statuettes were created between 1898 and 1900." (Icons of the West: Frederic Remington's Sculpture, Ogdensburg, New York, 1996, p. 30)

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