Frederic Remington (1861-1909)
Frederic Remington (1861-1909)
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 Bear at Bay (Roping a Grizzly)

Frederic Remington (1861-1909)
The Bear at Bay (Roping a Grizzly)
signed 'Frederic Remington' (lower right)
oil en grisaille on canvas
25 x 35 ¼ in. (63.5 x 89.5 cm.)
Painted circa 1894-95.
American Art Galleries, New York, 1895.
F.F. Cary.
William Randolph Hearst, San Simeon, California.
James Graham & Sons, Inc., New York.
George F. Harding Jr., Chicago, Illinois, acquired from the above.
Estate of the above.
George F. Harding Museum, Chicago, Illinois, gift from the above, 1939.
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, acquired from the above, 1982.
Sotheby's, New York, 21 May 2009, lot 94, sold by the above.
Acquired by the late owner from the above.
F. Remington, "Bear-Chasing in the Rocky Mountains," Harper's Monthly, July 1895, p. 245, illustrated.
F. Remington, Pony Tracks, New York, 1895, p. 263, illustrated.
H. McCracken, Frederic Remington: Artist of the Old West, New York, 1947, p. 132.
P.H. Hassrick, M.J. Webster, Frederic Remington: A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Watercolors and Drawings, vol. II, Cody, Wyoming, 1996, p. 551, no. 1932, illustrated.

Brought to you by

Tylee Abbott
Tylee Abbott

Lot Essay

The present work was published as an illustration for Frederic Remington's article "Bear-Chasing in the Rocky Mountains" in the July 1895 issue of Harper's Monthly. The painting was also reproduced in an 1895 anthology of Remington's illustrations titled Pony Tracks. In the story, Remington recounts a bear-hunting expedition he joined in New Mexico in October 1894 with the famed, one-armed English grizzly hunter James Montague Stevens. One of nine paintings Remington executed to illustrate this adventure, The Bear at Bay captures the climax of the trip as Remington witnesses the punchers surround a brown bear in a final confrontation.

Remington describes the scene: “After an hour's weary travelling [sic] down the winding way we came out on the plain, and found a small cow outfit belonging to Mr. Stevens…It appeared that three of them had been working up in the foot-hills, when they heard the dogs, and shortly discovered the bear. Having no guns, and being on fairly good ground, they coiled their riatas and prepared to do battle…The first rope went over Bruin's head and one paw. There lies the danger. But instantly number two flew straight to the mark, and the ponies surged, while Bruin stretched out with a roar. A third rope got his other hind leg, and the puncher dismounted and tied it to a tree.” (F. Remington, “Bear-Chasing in the Rocky Mountains,” Harper’s Monthly, July 1895, pp. 249, 251)

Distinguished previous owners of the present work include the legendary publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst and Chicago businessman, collector and politician George F. Harding, Jr. In the 1920s, Harding assembled a famed collection of arms and armor (now at the Art Institute of Chicago), which he exhibited in a castle-like addition to his Chicago home dubbed "Chicago's Treasure House." Harding opened his private museum and residence to the public, sometimes leading tours himself. A lover of Frederic Remington's work, Harding had a room specifically devoted to the artist known as the Remington Room. Including the present work, the Remington Room featured thirty-two paintings and eight bronzes by the artist.

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