A legendary perception of America’s western states has persisted to this day because of the sculptures and paintings of the Western landscape, the cowboys, and other subjects by 19th-century artist Frederic Remington. During his career, Remington created almost 3,000 sketches, paintings, and twenty-two bronze sculptures.
Until his passing in 1909, his bronze sculptures were cast using the lost-wax method. Until her passing in 1918, Remington’s widow, Eva, permitted the foundry to keep casting the artist’s bronzes. Unfortunately, the foundry destroyed the molds immediately after Eva Remington’s passing, as instructed by her will.
This museum, which houses Eva Remington’s gallery of the artist’s artwork and papers, opened its doors in 1923. The institution’s copyrights covered Remington’s bronzes up to their expiration in the 1960s. Unfortunately, shortly after Eva Remington’s passing, illegal forgeries began to be produced.
There have been reproductions after the copyrights have expired in almost every form, size, color, etc. Even though many of these replicas have the words “Copyright by Frederic Remington” printed on them, no laws are in place to control their production.
Proving a Remington Bronze’s Authenticity
Realistic expectations are the most incredible place to start. In the book about Remington’s art by Michael Greenbaum, Icons of the West, the locations of almost all authentic sculptors of Remington’s bronzes are thoroughly recorded. In addition, almost all authentic Remingtons are now made available through renowned art dealers or big auction houses.
The cheapest original will most likely sell for $75,000. So the likelihood of discovering an original at your neighborhood yard sale or having one come into your store is quite slim. These two crucial suggestions provided by art specialists can help you weed out other Remington imitators.
Foundry marks– The name of the foundry appears permanently on genuine Remington bronzes. The vast majority of copies lack foundry markings. Only Henry-Bonnard Bronze Co. and Roman Bronze Works made all of Remington’s original pieces. Every other name is undoubtedly fake.
For Remington, only sand castings were manufactured by Henry-Bonnard; only lost wax castings were done at Roman Bronze Works. Therefore, any lost wax cast object bearing the foundry mark of the Henry-Bonnard is unquestionably a fake.
Casting Number- A permanent marking on originals identifies their creation order using a number. Many copies include a supposed casting number followed by a total edition number to indicate that they are limited editions. Originals were never identified in this way with an edition or production number.
Finding other instances would be exceedingly improbable because many originals were produced in small quantities. The Buffalo Horse and The Buffalo Signal, for instance, both had a single original produced.
Paintings with Remington’s Signature
A review team at one museum looked at almost 500 two-dimensional works while preparing a directory raisonné of Frederic Remington paintings. Only 22% of the contributions were found to be original. A false painting bears a forged Remington signature and does not correspond to any recognized Remington creation.
In the field of art, the issue of forgeries and fakes is regularly addressed. Connoisseurship (an expert confirming that the work reflects the artist’s techniques and styles), provenance (the history of an artwork’s ownership), and scientific analysis performed by conservators such as Claire Barry, who is the renowned Conservation Director at the Kimbell Art Museum, make up the current system for authenticating works.
Ms. Barry investigated The Way Post, a watercolor and gouache work that is now credited to Frederic Remington, the cowboy artist, to get ready for the Sid Richardson Museum’s primary exhibition, Frederic Remington: Altered States.
However, experts and museum personnel disagree about who created the artwork. The piece is dated ca. 1881, just about the start of the artist’s career and around when Remington took his first voyage to the West, to Montana. Barry, a conservator, acknowledges that verifying an artist’s extraordinarily early or very late works might be challenging.
Infrared reflectography is one of the numerous methods conservators use in their lab to investigate underdrawings. Ms. Barry, however, did not find many underdrawings in the painting. Instead, because the graphite is evident through the watercolor, one can see the underdrawings more clearly with the naked eye.
It is preferable to look inside the architecture and painting style itself for more hints concerning the authorship of the picture. The addition of a youngster in the backdrop is unique for a Remington painting, so take note of it.
The use of raking shadows, especially underneath the fence, is a Remington trademark throughout the whole picture. Another characteristic of Remington’s approach is the textural contrast between the obscurely painted sky and the foreground washes.
The artist’s initials, F.R., are monogrammed on the work. Frederic Remington’s art features his initials, but the initials in this picture are done in a somewhat different manner. Remington used various colors, writing styles, and angles in his autographs.
To identify whether the paint used to create the gouache is titanium white, Claire Barry proposes examining the regions covered in white gouache using ultraviolet light and examining paint samples using XRF and polarized light microscopy. This is crucial because it was only after Remington’s passing in the 20th century that titanium white was created and began to be manufactured.
The methods stated above can be applied to all famous Frederic Remington paintings when there is doubt of their authenticity.
Remington bronze replicas are not considered “genuine” or “original.” If you are unsure if something is authentic or not, think about the asking price and the circumstances surrounding its sale. Even though none of these terms apply, Remington bronze copies are occasionally sold as “original,” “estate,” “older,” “signed,” and “vintage.”
Buyers are frequently persuaded to pay considerably more than the replicas are worth. Genuine Remington bronzes or paintings are typically impossible for less than $75,000 anywhere.