An interpretative gallery space dedicated to the works of Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell recently opened at the Amon Carter Museum. Located on the mezzanine level of the museum, the nearly 2,000-square-foot network of galleries serves to educate visitors about the works of American artists Remington and Russell. Admission to the gallery is free.
“When the museum expanded in 2001, we gained additional space to exhibit our renowned collection,” says Rick Stewart, senior curator of western paintings and sculpture. “What we found was that our visitors wanted to know even more about Remington and Russell and their techniques. We hope these galleries better acquaint the public with the life and works of these two great American artists.”
The galleries feature the self-taught artists’ oil paintings, watercolors and drawings. Nearly 100 artworks are on view, and the museum plans to periodically rotate some of the works. Several interactive features comprise the galleries, including pull-out drawers with large works on paper and a computer workstation. Museum visitors may also watch a short animation that depicts the lost-wax bronze casting process utilized by Remington and Russell. Additional works by Remington can be viewed in the second-level paintings and sculpture galleries.
In addition to the interpretative galleries, the museum has launched
www.cartermuseum.org/remington-and-russell, the definitive online resource for any scholar or layperson interested in Remington, Russell and their art. Every work by the two artists in the museum’s collection (about 400 objects) is viewable online. Exhaustive timelines are provided for each artist as well, complete with hundreds of period photographs and noteworthy events and dates in their lives. The site also includes: biographies of the two artists; comprehensive bibliographies; videos of the lost-wax process of making sculpture and of curator Rick Stewart discussing several of the artists’ works; and extensive teaching resources, making the site a destination for educators everywhere.
Teachers of any grade level can integrate the online lesson plans into their classroom. The materials, designed in cooperation with administrators and teachers, meet Texas and national teaching standards in a variety of disciplines including U.S. history, language arts and visual arts. In addition to lesson plans, the site provides educators access to bibliographies, Web links and materials from the Carter’s Teaching Resource Center.
“By making the teaching resources available through the Web site, teachers will have free access to the many interdisciplinary ways of sharing Remington and Russell with their students,” says Head of Education Stacy Fuller. “Today’s children will be tomorrow’s adults, and we want them to understand the lasting legacy of our American heritage.”
The Remington and Russell interpretative galleries, Web site and education programs were made possible by a generous grant from the Jane and John Justin Foundation.
About Frederic Remington (1861–1909)
Frederic Remington, one of the most important and influential artists to portray the American West, was largely self-taught. He was born on October 4, 1861, in Canton, New York. After stints in two military schools, Remington enrolled in the Yale School of Fine Arts in 1878. Following the death of his father, he dropped out of Yale after only three semesters and moved back in with his family. In 1881 he took his first trip west to the Montana Territory, where he made some sketches. His first illustration was published in Harper’s Weekly the following year.
In 1883 Remington moved to Kansas, where he attempted careers as a sheep rancher and saloon owner while pursuing his interest in art. Newly married and encouraged by the sale of some of his works, he relocated to New York City where, over the next few years, his reputation as an artist and illustrator of the American West was firmly established. Remington traveled extensively, often at the behest of Harper’s Weekly, making sketches and gathering information in a broad swath of the West that included Canada and northern Mexico. He became the most prolific and certainly the most influential artist-correspondent of the period. In 1895 he created his first bronze sculpture, which proved very popular. By 1900 he was not only successful as an illustrator but was enjoying a growing reputation as a serious artist whose works were winning critical praise. His untimely death from a ruptured appendix on Christmas Day, 1909, cut short his career.
About Charles M. Russell (1864–1926)
Charles Marion Russell was born on March 19, 1864, in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of a successful manufacturer and businessman. In 1880, after briefly attending military school in New Jersey, Russell talked his parents into letting him travel to the Montana Territory to work on a ranch. The following year he began a two-year apprenticeship with a professional hunter and trapper; after this he obtained employment as a night herder, working for various ranches in the growing Montana open-range cattle industry. Throughout this period, Russell evolved as a self-taught artist. He sketched, modeled and painted, achieving a regional reputation as “The Cowboy Artist” and selling examples of his work. He exhibited his first oil painting in St. Louis in 1886, and his first published illustration followed in the pages of Harper’s Weekly two years later.
In 1893 Russell left range work to pursue art full time, and in 1896 he married Nancy Cooper (1878–1940), who dedicated her life to managing her husband’s art. Russell made his first visit to New York City in 1903, the same year his log-cabin studio was erected in Great Falls. Over the next twenty years, he executed a number of illustrations on commission and published a number of his stories. Since boyhood, he had modeled sculptures in painted wax and plaster; in 1904 while on a trip to New York, he created his first work in bronze. Solo exhibitions of his work in a number of cities, beginning in 1911, secured his reputation as a major artist of the American West. In the 1920s his regular visits to California had a considerable influence on the rapidly growing film industry. Russell died of heart failure in Great Falls on October 24, 1926.