Frederic Remington (1861-1909) was an American artist who specialized in scenes of the Old West. Through his paintings, illustrations, and sculptures, he depicted images of cowboys, Native Americans, and the U.S. Calvary, capturing a way of life that was rapidly disappearing as civilization marched westward across the continent.
Remington created his first statue, Broncho Buster, in 1895, after he had already established his reputation as an illustrator and painter. From 1895 to 1909 he created 22 sculptures, including a larger revised version of his original Broncho Buster. The original bronze casts were made from the clay models that he produced. Bronzes of his first four sculptures were made using the sand-casting method, while his later bronzes were made using the lost-wax method. Like his illustrations and paintings, his sculptures showed dynamic images of the West that sparked the imagination of his audience back in the eastern United States.
An extremely limited number of authorized bronze castings were made of Remington’s original sculptures, and the ownership, location, and provenance of these pieces is, for the most part, well known. These pieces sell for $75,000 or more—for example, an authentic casting of The Broncho Buster was sold by Christie’s in 2009 for $482,500. However, the popularity of Remington’s work was such that additional, unauthorized castings were made before the works lost copyright protection in the 1960s. Now that the works are out of copyright, many companies produce replicas of varying degrees of quality.
So the good news and the bad news is that you don’t need to worry about whether the Remington bronze you see up for sale is an “original”—it is almost certainly a reproduction. That does not mean, however, that it is of poor quality or that it is an unwise purchase. Remington’s art has been reproduced over the years precisely because of its appeal, and many companies making reproductions work carefully to capture the artistic detail that won Remington his well-deserved reputation as a master of his craft. However, you should be wary of any seller making dubious claims of authenticity, as they are highly unlikely to be true.
If you are a fan of Remington’s sculpture, you can purchase replicas of his works directly from manufacturers or from museums that offer high-quality reproductions for sale. The cost for one of these replicas can range from hundreds of dollars for small-scale models to thousands for those recreated at original size or larger. However, there is no need to buy at retail price. High-quality Remington bronzes can readily be found at auction, which gives buyers the opportunity to own the artworks they love at a more budget-friendly price.
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