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According to Thomas Brent Smith in The American West in Bronze, “Remington’s admiration for the mountain man is apparent throughout his early illustrations as well as in his major oil paintings, but he attempted only one such subject in bronze. The Mountain Man of 1903 depicts a trapper and his mount descending a treacherous slope. The rider leans back to balance himself while grasping the saddles’s tail strap, and the sense of potential danger in their precarious downward journey adds narrative tension. Remington described the bronze as portraying an ‘old Iriquois [sic] trapper who followed the Fur Companies in the Rocky Mountains in the 30 and 40’ties,’ but the focus is less on the mountain man himself than on the interdependence of horse and rider. The artist’s eagerness to challenge the physical limits of sculpture is again evident, this time in the verticality of the composition. Remington repeatedly tried to make his sculptures appear to be structurally free of the base, and here only two of the horse’s hooves are attached to it. The steep, rocky base is fully incorporated into the design, playing an essential role in the narrative. The Mountain Man garnered the critical acceptance that Remington had sought, and casts were purchased by the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1905 and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1907.”

PROVENANCE
Kennedy Galleries, New York, NY 1960
Estate of William O. Sweet, Reno, NV
[Stremmel Gallery, Reno, NV 1974]
Gifted to William Harrah, Reno, NV
Private Collection, WA

LITERATURE
Harold McCracken, Frederic Remington: Artist of the Old West (Philadelphia, PA and New York, NY: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1947), plate 44, example illustrated
Peter Hassrick, Frederic Remington: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture in the Amon Carter Museum and the Sid W. Richardson Foundation Collections (New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1973), pp 194-95, example illustrated
Patricia Janis Broder, Bronzes of the American West (New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1974), pp 124-25, 159-60, example illustrated
Michael D. Greenbaum, Icons of the West: Frederic Remington’s Sculpture (Ogdensburg, NY: Frederic Remington Art Museum, 1996), pp 105-112, 190, example illustrated
Thayer Tolles and Thomas Brent Smith, The American West in Bronze 1850-1925 (New York, NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013), pp 125-27, example illustrated

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