Timeline

1894
November

The sculptor Frederick Ruckstull visits Remington and encourages him to try sculpture; Ruckstull returns to New York and purchases sculptor’s tool. Remington joins him in the sculptor’s studio to learn the rudiments of constructing an armature and modeling in clay and wax.

1895
March

Remington writes Wister “you ought to see the great model I am making,” and he writes Poultney Bigelow that he was “making a bronze which is to be one of the world’s treasures.”

May

The sculptor Frederick Ruckstull erects a shed on Augustus Thomas’ property next door to Remington to create a large equestrian sculpture; Remington visits Ruckstull every day to watch him work on the statue.

August

Remington finishes the work on his model of The Bronco Buster; he selects the Henry-Bonnard foundry in New York City to do the casting using the sand-cast process.

October 1

Remington copyrights the design for The Bronco Buster on his eleventh wedding anniversary and three days before his thirty-fourth birthday; it becomes the first sculpture of a cowboy in bronze.

October 19

The art critic Arthur Hoeber writes a glowing review of Remington’s The Bronco Buster in Harper’s Weekly; the writer William Dean Howells tells the artist that “you are such a wonder in every way that it would be no wonder if sculpture turned out to be one of your best holds.” The Century Magazine publishes an article on the bronze illustrated with photographs, and the work is praised by the New York Times.

1896
Late January

Remington writes Wister that he is modeling his second bronze, The Wounded Bunkie, saying it’s “in mud for you to make a final kick against before it [becomes] immortal.”

July 9

Remington copyrights his sculpture, The Wounded Bunkie; the sculpture is offered for $500 in an edition of twenty, and fourteen are sold.

1898
September 15

The First Volunteer Infantry, or “Rough Riders,” are mustered out of the service; the troops present a copy of Remington’s bronze Bronco Buster to their leader, Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, who writes Remington: “I have long looked hungrily at that bronze, but to have it come to me in this precise way seemed almost too good. There could have been no more appropriate gift from such a regiment.”

December 3

Remington copyrights his sculpture, The Wicked Pony, which he had begun modeling in 1896, and the bronze goes on sale at Tiffany’s for $250; only six copies are ultimately sold.

December 8

Remington copyrights his sculpture, The Scalp, also called The Triumph; eleven casts of the sand-cast version and six of the lost-wax version are eventually sold during his lifetime.

1900
March

Remington begins casting sculpture utilizing the lost-wax process with Roman Bronze Works, in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, New York; he becomes close friends with the foundry’s owner, Riccardo Bertelli; Remington immediately begins work modeling The Norther.

April

Remington has his first experience at the Roman Bronze Works foundry making changes on the three wax models of The Norther; he is excited by the freedom it affords.

July 2

Remington copyrights his first sculpture made by the lost-wax process, The Norther; only three copies are planned and sold.

1901
April-May

Remington begins modeling The Cheyenne, a sculpture that he described to Riccardo Bertelli at Roman Bronze Works as an “Indian & a pony which is burning the air—I think & hope he wont fall off as I did—he has a very teetery seat and I am nervous about even mud riders.”

May

The finished plaster cast from the clay model of The Cheyenne is sent to Roman Bronze Works; Remington tells Bertelli: “Glad the thing got over all right but look—You had better not put it in wax now. This Fall I will be able to get about and then I will come over and finish the thing.”

November 21

Remington copyrights the sculpture, The Cheyenne; it becomes one of the artist’s most popular bronzes.

December 17

Remington copyrights the bronze, The Buffalo Signal, a special individual commission for a fifteen-year-old boy at Christmas; the boy writes the artist to thank him, saying that “It was the best present I got not counting an army saddle and a bridle.”

1902
March 24

Remington writes Riccardo Bertelli at Roman Bronze Works to say that he has modeled “the bunch” [Coming Through the Rye], and wants someone to come up to New Rochelle and put the model in plaster. In another letter the same month he writes: “I have reconstructed the right hand man and made it much better with a foot on the ground. So—now I have six horses’ feet on the ground and 10 in the air.

April 7

Remington writes Bertelli that he has “shipped 4 boxes of [plaster] models and hope to God they arrive whole and not in small chunks.”

May-June

Remington works at the foundry on the model for Coming Through the Rye; he writes Owen Wister to say that “I go to the Roman Bronze Works—275 Green Street, Greenpoint— Brooklyn—leaving here every morning at 8:20 am to work out a four horse bronze and I reach this above oasis at 6 p.m.—eat—smoke go to bed and day after day I am to do this until I die or complete the bronze—and it’s even up.”

October 8

Remington copyrights the sculpture, Coming Through the Rye; the price for the work is $2,000, and the first cast is immediately sold, and sales averaged about two annually for the next few years.

1903
July 6

Remington travels from Ingleneuk to Brooklyn to adjust the wax model for his sculpture, The Mountain Man, which he copyrights four days later; he says the subject is “one of those old Iriquois [sic] trappers who followed the fur companies in the ’30 & 40’ties;” the work sells for $300, and proves very popular.

1904
May

Remington finishes the model for his first sculpture in a non-western subject, Polo.

July 1

Remington copyrights his sculpture, Polo; the price is $1000.

July 30

Remington copyrights his sculpture, The Sergeant; Riccardo Bertelli of Roman Bronze Works had suggested the idea of doing a smaller, less expensive work; Remington terms it his “Rough Rider Sergeant,” and the work retails for $50.

1905
January

The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington purchases two Remington bronzes, Coming Through the Rye and The Mountain Man, the first bronzes to enter a museum collection; the director of the museum writes Remington on February 2: “I think the title “Off the Range” is much more appropriate for the work than “Coming through the Rye,” and I thank you for the suggestion.”

January 16

An exhibition of nine of Remington’s bronzes opens at M. Knoedler & Co. in New York City; the exhibition features a new bronze, The Rattlesnake (copyrighted on January 18), a sculpture that became one of the artist’s favorites; it retails for $325.

March 16

Remington is invited by the Fairmont Park Art Association in Philadelphia to consider creating his first monumental sculpture, The Cowboy.

April 12

Remington writes Leslie Miller, Secretary of the Fairmount Park Association: “After our conversation of yesterday I shall be glad to undertake the bronze cow-boy.

May 13

Remington’s article, “Jefferson as a Painter,” is published in Harper’s Weekly; Remington receives a letter from Leslie Miller, Secretary of the Fairmont Park Art Association, authorizing him to proceed with a “sketch model” of the proposed monumental sculpture.

November 24

Remington writes Leslie Miller, Secretary of the Fairmount Park Art Association: “I have been working on the cow-boy and have the statuette form nearly done[;] in ten days I hope it will be presentable and then I hope to write your committee to run over here and see it. New Rochelle is easily reached from 42nd Street as you doubtless know. I want to save my plasteline and it is so much more satisfactory than a cast, besides if found necessary I can make changes in it.

December 6

Remington copyrights his sculpture, Dragoons—1850; Tiffany’s lists it as “The Old Dragoons” for $2,500.

December 19

The selection committee from the Fairmont Park Art Association visits Remington’s studio in New Rochelle to examine the plasteline model of The Cowboy.

1906
January 16

Remington hears the good news that the Fairmont Park Art Association has approved the creation of the monumental statue of The Cowboy, at a price of $20,000. The same day he writes Leslie Miller, the Secretary of the Fairmount Park Art Association: “I have concluded to build a new studio on the back end of my place where I can work to better advantage and I want to begin on that immediately because I will do nothing until that is ready.

March 24

Richard Watson Gilder, Editor of The Century Magazine, writes Remington: “I went the other day to see those ripping bronzes of yours. They are all thoroughly alive and thoroughly original. There was one that impressed me especially, as it had more beauty than some of the others, though they all have the beauty of life. I mean the solitary Indian with his arm up [The Scalp], apparently shouting defiance to the whole tribe of the paleface. What do you call that one? You seem to sum up the wildman’s attitude in that one gesture; and the horse in that is especially fine.

September

Remington begins the rough “throwing up” of the working clay model for The Cowboy.

1907
February 11

The Fairmont Park Art Association committee visits Remington’s studio in New Rochelle; on February 14 it approves the artist’s working model for The Cowboy.

March 7

The final clay model of The Cowboy is converted into a plaster replica and sent to Roman Bronze Works for storage.

March 8

Remington receives a letter from the sculptor Daniel Chester French informing him that four of his bronzes have been accepted into the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; one week later Tiffany’s delivers casts of Remington’s Bronco Buster, Cheyenne, Old Dragoons, and the Mountain Man to the museum.

May 7

Remington completes the model for The Horse Thief and shows it to Riccardo Bertelli at Roman Bronze Works; the statue is copyrighted on May 22.

September 10

Remington returns to his studio in New Rochelle and begins modeling a complicated composition, The Buffalo Horse; he copyrights the sculpture on December 12 as “a bull buffalo reared on hind legs with pony on his nigh shoulder being tossed and above all the Indian rider being hurled upwards with hands and one toe in contact with the pony;” only one cast is sold.

September 12

Work begins on a large sculpting studio at New Rochelle for Remington to enlarge the model for The Cowboy himself, rather than having others do it as most sculptors do; the studio is 25 x 17 feet, with a 17-foot ceiling; one end of the studio opens to accommodate a flatcar on a track that can roll the sculpture outdoors whenever Remington wants to adjust the model in the daylight.

October 31

The sculpture studio is completed and the basic armature and rough clay model has been prepared over the previous month; Remington ascends the scaffolding and ladders to begin the finish modeling of The Cowboy.

December 12

Remington writes Leslie Miller, Secretary of the Fairmount Park Art Association: “The cow-boy goes ahead all right and I expect I shall want you to look at it about the first of the year. I built a studio on my place here with a track to run it out on and I find the track of the greatest advantage. I think without it I could never have done the work. The hard lights of indoors are so different from the diffused light of outdoors that it looks like two statues. It is on a car and on a turn table and this turn table is so small that I do not dare take it outdoors when there is any wind for fear of its overturning… It would give you no proper idea at all to see it in the studio—it is 12 feet x 2 1/2 feet by 25 ft. up on the car… We work on ladders and only work from our impressions as we remember them after seeing it outdoors… I am trying to give you a Remington broncho and am not following the well known recipe of sculptors for making a horse. I intended to do this from the first and believe I am succeeding.

December 26

The Fairmont Park Art Association Committee travels to New Rochelle to see the completed clay model of The Cowboy; Remington writes in his diary that “The committee approved my Fairmont Cow Boy… The people were enthusiastic about my model—one man asked me to think up an Indian subject. I am tickled to death.”

1908
January 16

Remington goes into New York City and views his bronzes on display at the Metropolitan Museum, and viewed an exhibition of the work of the impressionist painter Robert Reid. He noted in his diary: “By gad a fellow has got to race to keep up nowadays—the pace is fast. Small canvases are best—all plein air color and outlines lost—hard outlines are the bane of old painters.”

March 20

Remington spends the day at Roman Bronze Works retouching the wax models for The Cowboy and The Rattlesnake. Later that day he writes Leslie Miller, Secretary of the Fairmount Park Art Association: “I today finished the lost wax—retouching on the minor accoutrements [of The Cowboy], and the big thing is steaming away in the melting furnaces.

April

Remington writes Leslie Miller, Secretary of the Fairmount Park Art Association: “The casting [of The Cowboy] has been wholly successful and there is a lot more character in it than in the plaster which is what one can do with ‘lost wax.’ In the old piece mold [sand cast process] the plaster ends it, but in wax one can go on as far as he likes. I went over every inch of the wax.

April 27

Remington copyrights his only monumental outdoor sculpture, The Cowboy, to be unveiled on June 20 in Fairmont Park in Philadelphia.