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Photos of original The Mountain Man

1903 The Mountain Man

This model portrayed one of the most revered and popular Western genres, the fur trapper. As Remington described in a letter to the museum curator of the Corcoran Gallery of art ( where he intended to market the piece), “This Mountain Man I intend to be as one of those old Iroquois trappers who followed the fur companies in the Rocky Mountains in the 30’s and 40’ties.” It was important to Remington that the sculpture show the skillfulness of balance and surefootedness; and also give great attention to the detail in the Mountain Mans’ attire. Letting the viewer gain a feeling that they are right there on the side of the mountain.
Remington believed that this 1903 bronze when viewed from the front or side conveyed a dizzy sense of height, in hopes to show all viewers just how dangerous the adventurous of these individuals’ lives were. He compiled his ideas from a number of resources which consisted mainly of photos and a few sketches, one of which was Prussian military officer riding down a mountain. It was important to Remington that he pay attention to the stance of the rider and animal to ensure the life likeness. This seems to be a major emphasis employed later on in his career as he became more critical of his own work.
The castings numbered one through approximately thirty are distinguishable by their fine attention to detail. For example, the placement of the trapper’s powder horn is in front of and centered at the riffle, and of the ammunition pouch. Then later, somewhere around the thirty-second model it was no longer cast from the original but from a model of an already existing bronze. At this point the quality and the placement of the powder horn, and the back of the sculpture degraded substantially from that of the original casting.

By: Shannon  J. Hatfield




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