Breaking Trail for the Dogs
Oil on Canvas
20 x 24 inches
Signed Lower Right
Frederic Sackrider Remington was born on October 1, 1861, in Canton, New York. From a very young age, Remington showed artistic inclinations. His school notebooks were full of sketches, often depicting Old West characters and equestrian figures. Remington's fondness for horses also materialized at an early age. As a boy, he was an accomplished rider, a skill imparted by his father who had been a cavalry officer during the Civil War.
In 1872, the Remington family moved to Ogdensburg, New York, where young Remington was enrolled in a military academy at the age of fifteen. His fervent desire to become an artist convinced his parents to let him take art classes at Yale University in 1878. After an initial period of enthusiasm, Remington soon became discouraged with the tedious routine of academic art instruction and turned his interest to athletics, becoming the Yale boxing champion and a member of the football team.
Upon the death of his father in 1880, Remington quit Yale and decided to try to make his living as an artist. He spent five years traveling in the West, during which he decided to commit himself to the artistic representation of the history, people and traditions of the "Old West." Remington befriended anyone who could afford him additional insight into his obsession. He talked to cowboys, saloon keepers, Indians, soldiers and settlers. He became a close friend of William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody and was often invited to stay at his famous ranch.
Remington moved to New York City and began working as a freelance illustrator and studying at the Art Student's League. His first accomplishment as a professional artist came in 1882, when one of his sketches was published in the February 25 issue of "Harper's Weekly". He began to get regular commissions and by 1887 was supporting himself well. That year, he produced several important easel works. He exhibited a painting at the American Water Color Society Show and another at the National Academy of Design Exhibition.
The following year, in 1888, he won two prestigious awards at the National Academy: The Hallgarten Prize and the Clark Prize. Remington had finally achieved full success in his field and he was deluged with commissions. By 1890, his stature and wealth allowed him to buy a mansion in New Rochelle, where he built a large studio and stocked it with his collection of western artifacts. His fame and wealth continued until his death at the age of 48.