Wow xfox, what a moving site - thank you!
You know, for years, I've seen some of these images in prints, but never really bothered to find out much about them or about Remington himself, even though going to high school in Lubbock, Texas meant that I was always seeing lovingly framed prints of his work in people's living rooms, and entire art galleries devoted to western art. I was mostly puzzled by its appeal, and thinking about it, I was probably so bitter about being uprooted from Maine as a teenager that Remington always represented to me everything that was hateful about living in Texas at all. I was pretty scornful, in fact, and didn't give it much attention.
What's great about exhibitions like this one is that it's always an eye-opening, and even heart-opening experience. I loved reading about his early experiences with the Spanish-American War and how it changed his painting. There's such an immediacy and drama and a commitment to faithfully recording what he saw that must be amazing to experience close-up, full-sized. They are very much a window into a lost world. Its been hard for me to get past the iconic nature of his images, and going through this site reminds me that these scenes were real, and represent an artist's very deep emotional connection to his traumatic experiences.
More than anything, I'm entranced by his struggle and determination to capture the essence of light at night. My heart aches a little for him in this quote:
" I know fine color when I see it but I just donít get it and itís maddening. Iím going to if I only live long enough.Ē
I've often thought that if I ever could devote myself to painting, I would probably be trying over and over and over to capture that lonely/not lonely feeling you get while driving at night, staring at the illuminated, hypnotic yellow line on the freeway, with a halo of headlights approaching, and red taillights glowing in the distance. I can't imagine that anyone else would want that kind of painting except me - but it reminds me of what a teacher said once -
"You will find that what feels most personal to you is probably what's most universal to all, and that's why you have to be brave."
Oh if I could find a painting like that, I would certainly buy it. Photos just don't cut it.