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
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.
Frederic Remington (1861-1909) and Charles 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.
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
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.
The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art opened June 24,
1989. Harrison Eiteljorg (1903-1997), an Indianapolis businessman and
philanthropist, worked with officials of the city of Indianapolis and of
Lilly Endowment Inc. to build a museum to house his collection of Native
American objects and Western paintings and sculptures. To his collection
were added the holdings of the now-defunct Museum of Indian Heritage. The
Eiteljorg Museum is the only museum in the Midwest to combine Western art
and Native American art and artifacts.
Frederic S. Remington (1861-1909)
An Indian Trapper
Oil on canvas, 1889
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas