The Fall of the Cowboy
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions25 X 35 1/8
Credit LineAmon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Amon G. Carter Collection
In 1895, Owen Wister wrote “The Evolution of the Cow- Puncher” for Harper’s Monthly. This painting was one of the illustrations accompanying the article. Remington advised Wister to document the gradual end of the cowboy way of life—open ranges were becoming a thing of the past. Remington’s painting has a somber, wistful tone conveyed by the muted colors of a winter scene—a palette in keeping with the artist’s intent to mourn the transformation of cowboy traditions.
While this painting signals the end of the cowboy era, the subject never left the public’s imagination. Though Remington’s paintings and sculptures were perhaps the most widely distributed imagery of his generation, the other works on this wall signify popular desire for western imagery in works of all media.