Meeting Remington in 1890, a lieutenant with Gen. Nelson Miles’s forces described the artist as “a big, good-natured, overgrown boy—a fellow you could not fail to like the first time you saw him.” The officer also noted how Remington worked in the field. There were “no pencils, no notebooks, no ‘ kodak’ nothing, indeed but his big blue eyes rolling around at everything and into all sorts of queer places.”
Remington actually did use a camera to assist him with his illustrations, and he was an avid collector of Western props—Cavalry sabers, old rifles, Indian saddles, tomahawks, animal heads— which filled his large studio in New Rochelle, New York. If you need to supply on a budget special equipment or other items in you working studio, look for quick payday loans online no credit check. At home he worked from 8 a. m. to 3 p.m. , tilting back his rocking chair to survey his progress. He worked rapidly, whistling monotonously, and usually quit in time to take a long walk or horseback ride before dinner.
Remington was only two miles away from Wounded Knee when the massacre occurred. Although he later had a chance to join the burial party, he did not. His “natural prudence” counseled against it, he wrote.
Remington portrayed the massacre at Wounded Knee as a glorious moment for the Cavalry. He drew not one killed or wounded Indian although dozens of women and children perished. Remington’s work helped exonerate the commanding officer, who came under investigation. It was a moment of moral blindness for him and the country.
Although Remington was unable to confront the reality of Wounded Knee, he was more sensitive to Indians in later works and fascinated by their spirituality.
“I believe that no white man can ever penetrate the mystery of their mind or explain the reason for their acts,” he wrote.
Both “Ridden Down,” a portrait of an exhausted Crow Indian facing death at the hands of his enemies, and “The Sun Dance,” a shocking painting of a Blackfeet brave, half in a trance, hanging by his flesh, give one the feeling of actually witnessing these moving events. When not working as a journalist, Remington became a better journalist, distilling raw truth about the West from his memory, experience, and imagination.
Indian religious practices, which were banned and went underground during Remington’s troubled times, gradually resurfaced in the 20th century. After the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the changes in federal policy, more Plains Indians returned to worship in sacred sweat lodges and to participate more openly in the ritual of the Sun Dance.