The Fall of the Cowboy
Oil on canvas
25 x 35 1/8 in.
signed l.r.: Frederic Remington
Amon G. Carter Collection
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Amon G. Carter Collection
In 1895, acclaimed western writer Owen Wister wrote “The Evolution of the Cow-Puncher” for Harper’s Monthly. The essay lamented the end of the open range and was accompanied by several illustrations of Remington’s paintings, including this portrayal of two cowboys tending to the gate of a barbed wire fence—a ranching technology that rendered much of cowboy life obsolete following its introduction in the 1870s.
To convey this passing of an age, Remington stripped away unnecessary detail, distilling the scene down to its poetic essence. His choice of palette creates a somber mood; the work is composed entirely of muted tones, from the overcast sky to the leathery complexions of the men themselves. Remington also experimented with his choice of subject: Infrared imaging reveals that he began with a depiction of a locomotive and what appears to be a cattle train before painting over it with this quieter, more atmospheric scene.
—Text taken from the Carter Handbook (2023)
Remington and RussellFebruary 25–May 24, 2015
This exhibition of paintings and sculptures selected from the Carter’s extensive collection offers visitors an opportunity to gain insight into the works of Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell, two of the greatest practitioners of the art of the American West.
From Remington to O’Keeffe: The Carter’s Greatest HitsOctober 6, 2018–March 22, 2019
During the renovation, this exhibition features highlights from the permanent collection, including paintings, photographs, and sculptures, by some of America’s most renowned artists.
Mythmakers: The Art of Winslow Homer and Frederic RemingtonDecember 22, 2020–February 28, 2021
American icon Winslow Homer, famous ocean painter, joins Frederic Remington, legendary cowboy artist, for the first exhibition to explore the unexpected resonances and moments of convergence between the themes, artistic sensibilities, and technical processes of these two artists.
In the late 1800s, Frederic Remington traveled regularly to the American West and depicted scenes he observed in that part of the country. The Fall of the Cowboy is one such painting.
Beneath a sky of gunmetal-gray tones, two cowboys have stopped their horses in a snowy landscape along a barbed wire and wood-post fence. On the left, a White man with a mustache has dismounted from his saddled horse, who waits on the far right, to remove the rails of the gate so the pair can pass through. He is wearing a tan, floppy-brimmed hat, a dark-gray coat, light-gray gloves, and brown chaps with fringe; his back is mostly turned to the viewer as he looks at the gate. To the right of the gate, another White cowboy sits atop his chestnut horse, holding the reins in his left, gray-gloved hand and watching the other cowboy by the fence. This man is wearing similar clothing as the standing cowboy—a tan-brimmed hat, a brown coat, and brown pants. Footprints in the snow lead from the side of the gray horse where the man unlatching the fence stands. All the figures in the painting are facing the left side of the work.
The artist signed his name in the bottom right corner of the artwork.