Remarkable Additions to the Remington
Written by Laura Foster
posted on February 13, 2017 12:31
2016 was an exceptional year for building the Frederic Remington Art Museum’s collection. Founded in 1923, based on the original bequest of the artist’s widow, Eva, the museum holds the largest and broadest collection of original art by Frederic Remington (b. Canton, NY 1861, d. Ridgefield, CT 1909). Remington’s work may now be best known for his iconic sculpture, The Broncho Buster, a cast of which belongs to the White House, and is frequently seen in photographs of the president in the Oval Office.
Remington’s primary occupation from the mid-1880s until about the turn of the century was as a professional illustrator. It was his luck that the subjects he found personally intriguing, from childhood onward -- horses and manly activities such as military life and cowboy work were the same subjects that the readers and publishers of the great New York magazines he worked for wanted to see. His images graced the pages of Harper’s Weekly, Harper’s Monthly, The Century, Outing, Scribner’s, etc., and often the covers too. He was in great demand and had leeway in the images he created, and also in the stories, he often wrote along with them, both fiction and non-fiction. His subjects are far more wide-ranging than he is often credited for.
|The museum’s first acquisition of the year, in January, was White Wings, a Thousand Islands subject Remington created to illustrate a memoir by Almon Gunnison, “Wayside and Fireside Rambles,” 1893. Gunnison was a friend of Remington’s late father, Seth P. Remington, and a president of St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. The original ink wash on paper art had been on loan to the museum since 1987, for exhibition and safekeeping. The museum holds a good number of such works on loan, often passed by descent from their original owner. |
To have such a work join the permanent collection is the best case scenario. White Wings was offered for sale to the museum at a very fair price, which made it a straightforward yet exhilarating process to obtain the generous matching gifts from Allan P. Newell and the Kingsley Family of Hammond, NY to secure the acquisition. White Wings is on view in the museum’s Addie P. Newell Gallery, with more than 20 Thousand Islands paintings by Frederic Remington.
Similarly, another work on paper from 1894 came in through great generosity. Bill and Lucille Loder contacted the museum through the “I Think I Have a Remington” button on the museum’s website, www.fredericremington.org.
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White Wings by Frederic Remington, ca. 1893, ink wash on paper, 15 x 16''
Museum purchase with funds provided by Allan P. Newell and the Kingsley Family of Hammond, NY. [Click to enlarge]
Cumnor's Awakening, 1894 by Frederic Remington, wash drawing
Gift of William and Lucille Loder in memory of parents William and Betty Loder and grandparents Benjamin and Marion Loder.
Photo courtesy Frederic Remington Art Museum
They knew they had a Remington, and they were certainly right. The art had descended from Bill’s grandparents, who had acquired it in about 1900. With utmost altruism, the couple drove from their home in Maine to make the donation of Cumnor’s Awakening, in person last August.
They signed the gift papers without the slightest hesitation. They said they wanted the work to be where it belongs. It was a great pleasure to show them the museum at a leisurely pace, and to show them how their very western work (illustrating an Owen Wister story, “Specimen Jones,”) fits into the museum’s collection and Remington’s wider body of work.
It was an added joy that the crowds waiting in line at the museum’s annual Appraisal Day got to meet the Loders, celebrate the happy moment, and get the first view of the painting’s public debut.
The museum builds and refines its collection with reference to its mission, which was recently refined in the strategic plan, developed over the year of 2016: The Frederic Remington Art Museum expands and deepens appreciation and understanding of Remington’s work by engaging contemporary audiences and keeping his legacy relevant.
Sally James Farnham
|Joan of Arc by Sally James Farnham (1869-1943) bronze sculpture, cast in 1918.|
The museum won the sculpture at a Sotheby’s auction on June 9th. Those who have generously funded this acquisition are: Jack and Jo Anne Backus, Mary and Carl Colton, Dr. Patricia Mahoney, JoAnn and Lowell McAllister, Robert and Eleonora McCabe, Julie and Peter Huff, Dolly MacIntyre, Janet McFarland in memory of George McFarland, Tyler and Sara Mongerson, Allan P. Newell, Catherine Newell, and William Torrey.
Photo courtesy Frederic Remington Art Museum
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Happily, in June, a supporter emailed with a link to a Sotheby’s auction of Farnham’s Joan of Arc bronze sculpture, and she offered to put up the first $1000.
We were able to solicit commitments from Sally James Farnham fans that far exceeded the actual auction price, and are very pleased to hold this fantastic sculpture as a timely addition to what is already the largest public collection of the artist’s work.
At the moment, there are Farnham’s in storage, on the mantel in the museum’s lobby, and in an upstairs hallway. The strategic plan calls for the museum’s other spaces to be brought up to the level of excellence of our Newell Galleries, where the Frederic Remington exhibits are held.
Spurred by the significance of the Joan of Arc acquisition, the museum will make a dedicated, well designed and engaging exhibit space on the museum’s second floor, which both the artist and the museum’s visitors deserve.
Also in accord with the museum’s strategic plan, the museum will invest deeply in education, establishing New Artist in Residence and Scholar in Residence Programs. Bringing outside scholarship and artistic engagement on site
will greatly broaden and deepen the public’s opportunities to see and learn from very different perspectives.
We will also grow our loans of art, both as a lender and a borrower. 2016 began with the incredible generosity of a Wyoming couple, who placed their newly acquired original lost wax cast of The Broncho Buster with us for most of the year, enabling our visitors to see for the first time an exemplary cast of the museum’s own sand cast version next to an example the Lost Wax Series that followed it, each a marvel in its own way. We expect to have this loaned sculpture during our busy summer season on an ongoing basis.
By Laura Foster, Director, Frederic Remington Art Museum
A graduate of Emma Willard School and the College of Wooster, Laura Foster has served as the Frederic Remington Art Museum's Curator, since 1989 and in 2013 she was appointed Director. Laura is part of the Frederic Remington Examination Committee, a panel of four experts who meet annually at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and give unanimous opinions on Remington paintings and drawings submitted for scrutiny.
Editor’s Note: Be sure to visit this North Country and Thousand Islands treasure.
The museum’s strategic plan. http://126.96.36.199/strategic-plan.php
Frederic Remington Art Museum, 303 Washington Street, Ogdensburg, NY 13669
315 393 2425
To learn more about making a gift to the Remington, visit their website: www.fredericremington.org
Director Laura Foster talks about acquisitions and loans or original art.
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