A Dash for the Timber

Frederic Remington (1861–1909)

Object Details

  • 1889
  • Oil on canvas
  • 48 1/4 X 84 1/8
  • 1961.381
  • Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Amon G. Carter Collection

Object Description

Between 1885 and 1888, Remington made several trips to the Southwest to document the Apache Wars. He was deeply influenced by the stark landscape there and filled his sketchbooks with color notes and observations about the special quality of the light.

Back in his studio in 1889, he wrote a friend to say he needed a few pairs of chaps sent to him for source material because he was working on this painting—“a big cowboy picture”—which launched his career when it received favorable critical attention. The overall effect of the composition is truly cinematic, and the action-filled portrayal of the struggle of life anticipates the many western films that were to follow a generation later.

Educator Resources

Essential Questions

  • What tools do artists use to convey motion and tension in a work of art? Which of those tools do you think is most successful?
  • What role does setting play in a narrative painting?
  • How do artists seek to convey the effects of light in a landscape? What impact does artists’ use of light and shadow have on the way the audience views figures and objects?
  • What role do stereotypes play in an audience’s understanding of works of art?

Suggested Activities (Pre-K–2nd grade)

Students will explore motion in art by using only lines to draw the movements seen in the painting (wavy lines for gallop, forward slash for leaning, spiral for turning cowboy).

Suggested Activities (3rd–5th grade)

Students will explore beginning, middle, and end in narratives. They will imagine they are one of the people in this painting. Using carefully chosen words, they should describe their adventurous day to a friend.

Suggested Activities (3rd–8th grade)

Show a photograph of Fredric Remington and drawings he made of horses. What is important about the horses in this painting? Share motion studies (or a flip book) of horses by Eadweard Muybridge.

On 2 x 12 in. paper, students can create a series of drawings depicting movement.

Image Credits

Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Amon G. Carter Collection, 1961.381
Location: On View