Cowboy (1908)

by Frederic Remington (1861 - 1909)

Photo Caption: Photo Gregory Benson © 2008 for the Association for Public Art
Kelly Drive north of Girard Avenue Bridge
1908

  • Title

    Cowboy

  • Artist

    Frederic Remington (1861 - 1909)

  • Year

    1908

  • Medium

    Bronze, on natural stone base

  • Dimensions

    Height 12′; width 10' 11" (base width 3' 4")

  • Themes

    Equestrian Sculpture

Commissioned by the Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art)

Owned by the City of Philadelphia


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At A Glance

  • Part of the Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO program

  • One of the country’s earliest examples of a site-specific work

  • Frederic Remington’s only large-scale bronze

  • Modeled on a horseman and Chester County, PA native who posed for Remington on site

Frederic Remington found inspiration in the roughriders of the American West. He was intrigued by the interaction of the cowboy and his horse and drew both extensively. After living in the West and establishing himself as an illustrator, he returned to New York in 1886 and began working in oils and modeling clay.

Remington modeled the cowboy on Charlie Trego, a native of Chester County, Pennsylvania, and a friend from his cowboy days in Montana.

In March 1905 the president of the Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art) suggested that a statue of a cowboy be commissioned for the park. Remington had worked on a small scale until this time and was apparently intrigued by the prospect of a larger work. He drove through Fairmount Park and finally selected a site: a rock ledge jutting out over East River Drive (now Kelly Drive). As the records indicate, the site was “Mr. Remington’s choice and not selected until after he got a horseman to pose for him in that exact place.” Remington modeled the cowboy on Charlie Trego, a native of Chester County, Pennsylvania, and a friend from his cowboy days in Montana. Installed in 1908, the sculpture is one of the country’s earliest examples of a site-specific work. However, it was to be Remington’s only large-scale bronze. He died the year after the installation of Cowboy.

Adapted from Public Art in Philadelphia by Penny Balkin Bach (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1992).

Photo Caitlin Martin © 2010 for the Association for Public Art
Photo Caitlin Martin © 2010 for the Association for Public Art

 

RESOURCES

Museum Without Walls logo: a program of the Association for Public Art

 

Voices heard in the program:

Ann Greene is the author of Horses at Work: Harnessing Power in Industrial America.

Ed LaVarnway is the former Director of the Frederic Remington Art Museum in Ogdensburg, New York.

Jody Pinto is an artist who is internationally recognized for her site-specific public art works.

Segment Producer: Sarah Lilley

A program of the Association for Public Art (formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association), Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO is an innovative and accessible outdoor sculpture audio program for Philadelphia’s preeminent collection of public art.

User calls Museum Without Walls Audio for Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture
Photo Albert Yee © 2010 for the Association for Public Art

A “multi-platform” interactive audio experience – available for free by cell phone, mobile app, audio download, or on the web – Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO offers the unique histories that are not typically expressed on outdoor permanent signage.

Unlike audio tours that have a single authoritative guide or narrator, each speaker featured in Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO is an “authentic voice” – someone who is connected to the sculpture by knowledge, experience, or affiliation. Over 150 unique voices are featured, including artists, educators, scientists, writers, curators, civic leaders, and historians.

 

This artwork is part of the Along Kelly Drive tour

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