Frederic Remington, The Fall of the Cowboy, 1895, oil on canvas, 24 x 35-1/8 inches (Amon Carter Museum of American Art). Speakers: Sara Klein, Teacher and School Programs Manager, Amon Carter Museum of American Art and Steven Zucker
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Remington, Fall of the Cowboy quiz
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The Fall of the Cowboy reinforces the melancholic mood of its subject through all of the following except
The highly detailed rendering of the clothing, tools, and horses
The use of somber colors and monochromatic tones
The strong horizontal lines of the fence and distant horizon
The lack of motion creates a sense of quiet
Remington’s cowboy paintings may have influenced which of the following?
The popular depictions of cowboys later seen in Hollywood westerns
The frontier thesis proposed by Frederick Jackson Turner in 1893
The end of the cowboy’s way of life on the open range
The role of cowboys to support the ranching industry in the 19th century
Which detail in Fall of the Cowboy is often used in art to symbolize death, mortality, and the inevitable passage of time?
The season of winter
The barbed-wire fencing
The horse without a rider
The footprints in the snow
Remington created the Fall of the Cowboy for which purpose?
It was an illustration for an essay by Owen Wister in Harper’s Monthly Magazine
It was part of a display on ranching at the Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago
It was sold to raise money for cowboys who had lost their jobs
It was used to encourage homesteading and settlement on the western frontier
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In the late 19th century, the United States saw the closing of the frontier and the completion of westward expansion.
Cowboys played an essential role in the ranching industry by driving cattle across the open range in the mid-19th century, but the invention of barbed wire fencing, the increased privatization of land, and the growth of the railroad brought an end to the cowboys’ way of life.
Remington’s painting uses a monochromatic palette, quiet winter setting, and minimal movement to evoke nostalgia about the end of the era of the cowboy.
In 1893, Frederick Jackson Turner argued that settlement of the west had ended the frontier era in the United States.
As the 19th century came to a close, the image of the cowboy began to transform into a mythic persona that reflects a romanticized history of the U.S. frontier.
Remington’s depictions of cowboy combine details of close observation with idealizations of the American West. Compare this 1895 photograph to Remington’s painting. What is similar? What is different? How does the photograph present cowboys differently than the painting?
Cite this page as: Sara Klein, Amon Carter Museum of American Art and Dr. Beth Harris, "The closing of the frontier and The Fall of the Cowboy," in Smarthistory, February 6, 2018, accessed January 17, 2019, https://smarthistory.org/remington-fall-cowboy-2/.