Eiteljorg Museum

Indianapolis, IN




Remington and Russell: Masterpieces of the American West from the Amon Carter Museum


To see one of the nation's premier collection of works by the masters of American Western art, Frederic S. Remington and Charles M. Russell, one usually would have to travel to Fort Worth, Texas, and the Amon Carter Museum.

But this fall, 10 paintings by each of these legendary masters will be in Indianapolis at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in what will probably be Midwesterners' - or anyone else's, for that matter - only chance to see these works anywhere but Fort Worth.

The Amon Carter Museum is closed while it undergoes a major facility expansion. The Eiteljorg Museum saw this as an opportunity to bring some of the world's most famous paintings to the Midwest. John Vanausdall, the Eiteljorg's president and CEO, contacted Dr. Rick Stewart, director of the Amon Carter - and the rest, as they say, is history.

"The Amon Carter Museum has one of the country's foremost collections of art by these two icons of Western art. The opportunity to bring 20 oil paintings to the Eiteljorg Museum is a truly exciting event," said Robert Tucker, curator of collections at the Eiteljorg.

Remington and Russell: Masterpieces of the American West from the Amon Carter Museum, opens Sept. 9, 2000, and runs through Jan. 7, 2001, at the Eiteljorg Museum in downtown Indianapolis.

Frederic Remington (1861-1909) and Charles M. Russell (1864-1926) celebrated the West in a way that blurred the distinction between the imaginative and the factual. The romance of the West was paramount in the works by both artists, and together, they defined many of the themes that make up the world's view of the American West.

Remington was born and raised in upstate New York near the St. Lawrence River. His formal artistic training consisted of three semesters at the Yale College of Art and three months at the Art Students League in New York. He made his first trip to the West in 1881, vacationing in the Montana Territory; two years later, he moved to Kansas. He returned to New York City in 1885 and began working with "Harper's Weekly," then the largest pictorial newspaper in the world. He covered the U.S. Cavalry and its pursuit of the Apaches from 1885 and 1888 and, within a few years, became one of the best and most prolific artist-correspondents of the era. (left: Frederic S. Remington (1861-1909), A Dash for the Timber, oil on canvas, 1889, 48 x 84 inches, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas)

The recognizable "A Dash for the Timber" launched Remington's career as a major painter when it was exhibited at the National Academy in 1889. The detail in the horses - nostrils flaring, every muscled strained to its limits - makes them almost burst from the canvas.

Russell grew up as part of an affluent family in St. Louis. He developed a passion for all things Western at an early age. Two of his great-uncles had been legendary figures on the old Santa Fe trail, and young Russell longed to be part of a Western adventure himself. To satisfy this urge, his parents sent him to work on a friend's Montana sheep ranch when he was 16. Russell decided the tough work of sheep ranching wasn't for him, but that Montana was where he wanted to live his life. After moving there, he quickly gained a local reputation as the "cowboy artist," and, by 1900, he was painting full time. (left: Charles M. Russell (1864-1926), Buffalo Hunt No. 26, oil on canvas, 1899, 30 x 48 inches, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas)

Many of Russell's paintings feature real people and events. According to local legend, "In Without Knocking" portrays the artist's fellow riders when they decided to liven things up in Stanford, Montana, by riding their horses back into the Hoffman saloon.

Amon G. Carter Sr. first heard about the work of Remington and Russell through his friend, the writer and humorist Will Rogers. In 1935, Carter began acquiring works by both artists. Carter died in 1955, but the Amon Carter Museum, which opened Jan. 21, 1961, pays a lasting homage to the determination and courage of the American pioneer spirit.

"Remington and Russell: Masterpieces of the American West from the Amon Carter Museum" is organized by the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas.

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Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 2/28/11

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