On the Southern Plains

Artist: Frederic Remington (American, Canton, New York 1861–1909 Ridgefield, Connecticut)

Date: 1907

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 30 1/8 x 51 1/8in. (76.5 x 129.9cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of Several Gentlemen, 1911

Accession Number: 11.192

Description

One of Remington’s favorite themes was the American soldier in the West, of whom he wrote, “His heroism is called duty, and it probably is.” Here, soldiers led by a scout in buckskin charge an unseen enemy. Although the painting was probably meant to refer to the war against the Plains Indians in the 1860s—Remington titled it "Cavalry in Sixties"—the uniforms and weapons date variously from the time of the Civil War through the 1870s. The artist was willing to depart from reality in other details as well. For example, the horses and riders are shown as a dynamic mass rather than in a straight horizontal line, which was the usual attack formation.

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