Sid Richardson Museum
Sid Richardson Collection of Western Art
Fort Worth, TX
(above: Sid Richardson Museum | 2006 | photograph of building facade after remodel. Photo courtesy of Mitch Geller, Sid Richardson Museum Support, nu-design.com)
The Sid Richardson Museum, a Fort Worth art museum located in historic Sundance Square, features permanent and special exhibitions of paintings by the premier Western artists, Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell. The works, reflecting both the romance and reality of the American West, are the legacy of the late oilman and philanthropist, Sid Williams Richardson. Most were acquired by him from 1942 until his death in 1959. The collection also includes works by Oscar E. Berninghaus, Charles F. Browne, Edwin W. Deming, William Gilbert Gaul, Peter Hurd, Frank Tenney Johnson, William R. Leigh, Peter Moran and Charles Schreyvogel. (Right: Portrait of Sid Richardson, by Peter Hurd (1903-1984), 1958, oil on panel, 32 x 48 inches)
In 1947 Sid Richardson established a foundation for the purpose of supporting not-for-profit organizations that serve the people of Texas. Throughout the years, the board of directors and staff have sought to fulfill his vision by providing grants primarily in the areas of education, health, human services and the arts and humanities.
This Fort Worth art museum, which opened in 1982, is located in historic Sundance Square, an area of restored buildings in downtown Fort Worth. The site was chosen by the Foundation trustees both for its convenience to downtown visitors and workers and for the historic atmosphere of the area. With an annual attendance numbering over 50,000, visitors come from all 50 states and over 53 foreign countries.
Beginning in 2005, the art museum underwent a 14 month renovation, reopening in 2006 with an additional 30% square footage, enhanced Gallery and educational spaces, and a new windowed facade. The new building contains red granite from the Texas Hill Country and is ornamented with bronze brass buffalo medallions. In 2013, the art museum expanded its Museum Store square footage, and enhanced its window display and signage, making it more pedestrian-friendly to visitors in Sundance Square.
Please see the Museum's website for admission fees and hours.
Please click on the thumbnail images below for a brief tour of a portion of the museum's collection:
Buffalo Runners - Big Horn Basin
Frederic Remington, 1909, Oil on canvas
Remington (and his critics) had always doubted his color sense. After 1900 he discovered the joys of applying paint freely, stroking more boldly and allowing his own sense of light and shadow to dictate his palette. Buffalo Runners, Big Horn Basin is a riot of sunstruck hues - yellow ochres, warm browns, rusts and reds - sweeping across the canvas with an abandon to match that of the racing riders. Painted in the last year of Remington's life, it is a throwback to his earliest Western experiences and the emotions they generated. "I have always wanted to be able to paint running horses so you would feel the details and not see them," he confided to his diary in 1908. Buffalo Runners, Big Horn Basin is a high point in Remington's hard-earned transformation into an American Impressionist painter.
Frederic Remington, 1889, Oil on canvas
Painted in 1889, The Sentinel was inspired by an earlier trip to the Southwest that took Remington through Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and into Mexico. In the deserts of the southern Arizona, Remington sketched the Papagos, a peaceful people long under the sway of the Spaniards and Mexicans. They had no enemies apart from the Apaches, who were a constant menace, and, outside the mission San Xavier del Bac, a mounted Papago kept vigil. Remington had published a sheet of twelve drawings, Sketches among the Papagos of San Xavier, in Harper's Weekly, April 2, 1887. In this striking oil, he combined three of them - a Papago home, the mission proper, and the guard on lookout for Apaches.
The Luckless Hunter
Frederic Remington, 1909, Oil on canvas
After witnessing the reality of the Spanish-American War, Remington could no longer glamorize combat as he once had. Much of his youthful exuberance had vanished, replaced by a growing sense of loss over the Wild West that had once nurtured his artistry and was now a fading memory. Embracing the old West with renewed passion, he, who had been a master of action, a storyteller in line and paint, became a student of mood, and some of his paintings were infused with a brooding intensity. Contemporaries recognized this new direction in The Luckless Hunter with its obvious air of despair. Rather than being conquered by the Cavalry in combat on a sun-drenched battlefield, the Indian is shown reduced to helplessness by hunger. The night air is brittle, the sky speckled with frozen stars, the snow-covered landscape as barren as the moon that washes it in pale light. There is nothing left to sustain the will to resist, or even to go on.
Self-Portrait on a Horse
Frederic Remington, c. 1890, Oil on canvas
In paint and prose Remington paid enduring tribute to his ideal, the wasp-waisted officers and men of the U.S. Army. However, he realized that not being a professional soldier was what permitted him to romanticize the soldier's calling. When he came to paint himself into the West he was immortalizing, it was as a cowboy. Although he never worked as one, he claimed to know "that gentlemen to his character's end." Asked about the audience for his art, Remington replied in 1903 "Boys-boys between twelve and seventy..." Here, in his only full-fledged self-portrait, we have a boy of nearly thirty, dressed up as a cowboy on a white horse under one of those skies that are not cloudy all day. The angle is heroic. Horse and rider tower over the viewer,who has no choice but to gaze up at them. Youthful fantasies, that smug face tells us, can be realized.
Apache Medicine Song
Frederic Remington, 1908, Oil on canvas
In Apache Medicine Song the campfire's glow provides orange highlights in a sea of greens and browns, while deep shadows fringe the picture. Although theirs is a religious rite, the flickering light playing over the faces of the chanting warriors distorts their features with a demonlike, chilling effect as if they are about to cast an evil spell. As an illustrator, Remington had always been attracted to campfire scenes, but it was in his late, impressionistic phase that he fully realized the dramatic potential of firelight. This effect was only one of several that Remington perfected in the burst of creative energy that marked the last years of his life.
Charles M. Russell, 1902, Oil on canvas
While raiding parties tended to be small and stealthy, these advance scouts carry weapons that suggest they are out for blood and would welcome a fight. Apparently they have spotted something and are waiting for the others to catch up. Russell often set scenes like this at day's end and in later works the Indians became almost unthreatening as they basked in the sun's fading warmth, perfect symbols of Russell's own nostalgia for the vanished West. Here, although the sky is roseate and the setting sun washes the men in pinks and reds, they exude menace and appear lean, tough and full of fight.
Man's Weapons are Useless When Nature Goes Armed
(Weapons of the Weak; Two of a Kind Win)
Charles M. Russell, 1916, Oil on canvas
While Russell painted buffalo and bear in profusion as symbols of the untamed West, he also loved nature's smaller creatures, from the prairie dog to the field mouse and, as this humorous tribute suggests, had nothing but respect for the lowly skunk. Two hunters return at dusk after a day in the field to find their camp ransacked and their evening meal of pork and beans partially devoured by an invading duo that they can repel only at the risk of having their nest fouled. This amusing oil was inscribed as a thank you to Russell's good friend, Howard Eaton, a pioneer dude rancher, after Russell rode with Eaton on a particularly memorable trip through Arizona and along the Grand Canyon in October, 1916.
Charles M. Russell, 1904, Pencil, watercolor, and gouache on paper
Despite his aversion to bronco busting, there is no denying Russell's uncanny feel for horse anatomy. He could twist man and animal any way he wanted for purposes of action, yet, since he visualized the figures in the round, always make his distortions seem natural. The vertical composition of this watercolor emphasizes the towering height of the bucking horse and its rider as they crowd the edges of the painting and threaten to explode right out of it.
Captain William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
Meeting with the Indians of the Northwest
Charles M. Russell, 1897, Oil on canvas
The Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806) stirred Russell's imagination like no other event in Montana's past and he painted it a number of times both in color and black and white. Though this painting was originally called Lewis and Clark Meeting the Mandan Indians, the specific occurrence Russell meant to depict remains unclear. Here, Clark steps forward with aloof dignity to shake hands with the Indian headman while Charbonneau, husband of Sacajawea, interprets and Clark's black servant, York, looks on. As was traditional at the time, the figures appear stiffly conventionalized and the colors "kind of stout," to use Russell's own words, running to browns and greys. None the less, this impressive, large scale performance was a touchstone work in defining Russell's local reputation in the year he took up permanent residence in Great Falls.
Wounded (The Wounded Buffalo)
Charles M. Russell, 1909, Oil on canvas
Russell wrote of that most prized possession of the plains Indian hinter, his buffalo horse. Here he illustrates his pint and also his fluency in painting the subject. The snow-patched landscape, the receding flow of the chase, the frosty bite of the air, and the action - especially the aggressive charge of the cow and the frantic leap of the horse - are all expertly portrayed. Russell's own experience in a buffalo, stimulating his artistry, which he expressed in this dramatic painting of a wounded cow defending its calf. There is also a treat tucked into the foreground - a rabbit hunkered in the grass, a touch Russell often added to delight his alert viewers. Rabbit in detail at left.
Frederic S. Remington Pages
Charles M. Russell Pages
Please click on images with a red border to enlarge them.
Photos of artworks and accompanying texts were provided for permanent publication to Resource Library Magazine in 1997 courtesy of Sid W. Richardson Foundation and Sid Richardson Collection of Western Art, predecessor to the Sid Richardson Museum. These photos of artworks and accompanying texts remain as originally published 6/19/97 in Resource Library Magazine. Revised text describing the museum on this page was provided 11/9/17 by Mitch Geller, Sid Richardson Museum Support, nu-design.com on behalf of Sid Richardson Museum and accepted by TFAO for publication on 11/18/17. Please see Resource Library's Archival publication and Overview pages for more information.
Prints of original works shown in the above images pages may be available through the museum's store.
For biographical information on artists referenced in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists
Unless otherwise noted, all text and image materials relating to the above institutional source were provided by that source. Before reproducing or transmitting text or images please read Resource Library's user agreement.
Also please see the Museum's online galleries at https://www.sidrichardsonmuseum.org//collection.php
Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library.
This page was originally published June 19,1997 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.
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