The Frederic Remington Art Museum
A stone’s throw from the St. Lawrence River, and seemingly a world away from the Western frontier, you can find the world’s largest collection of art by one of America’s most acclaimed chroniclers of the Old West.
The Frederic Remington Art Museum is located in Ogdensburg, New York, in the 19th-century mansion where Remington’s wife, Eva, lived after his death. Her collection of his art and archives formed the foundation for the museum’s collection, which now includes 130 paintings and watercolors, 855 drawings and sketches, and 17 bronzes, as well as books, photographs, and other artifacts that add insight into Remington’s career as an artist and author.
But, after almost 90 years, visitors to the museum still ask, “Why here?”
“So synonymous is Remington’s name with the West that people often assume he was from there,” says museum curator Laura Foster. In reality, Remington had a lifelong connection with northern New York: He grew up in Ogdensburg; was born, met his wife, and is buried in the neighboring town of Canton; and owned a cottage and studio nearby, on his island in the St. Lawrence River.
Remington always loved the outdoors. His father, a horse enthusiast and decorated Civil War cavalryman, instilled in him a passion for horses, the military, and heroic actions — themes that later drew Remington to the untamed West. He soon discovered that Eastern audiences were equally fascinated with the rough and rugged frontier, and that he could make the West — and art — accessible to those who could not see it for themselves. As a result he’s frequently labeled a “Western” artist, but his skill transcends genres. “Remington was an accomplished artist, regardless of his subject matter,” Foster says.
Here, in upstate New York, you can see more Remington art than you can anywhere else. You can observe Remington’s skill as a multifaceted artist and trace the progression of his prolific career, from his magazine illustrations of the 1880s and 1890s, to his signature bronzes, to his critically acclaimed nocturnal paintings, to his later-in-life impressionistic works. Surrounded by larger-than-life illustrations, quotations, and personal items (ranging from Remington’s Tiffany & Co. cigar box to his buckskin beaded saddle), you can step back to that bygone time when America’s East first met the Wild West.
Frederic Remington Art Museum, 303 Washington St., Ogdensburg, New York, 315.393.2425, www.fredericremington.org.
Issue: June 2011