How to Tell an Original Frederic Remington

By Lane Cummings
Frederic Remington is famous for his portrayal of the American west.

Frederic Remington was a 19th-century artist whose paintings and sculptures of cowboys, the western landscape and other images have created a mythical view of America's western states that lives on to this day. According to pbs.org, in his lifetime, Remington "...produced more than three thousand drawings and paintings [and] twenty-two bronze sculptures..." Copycats will reproduce pieces made by Remington and try to pass them off as "'vintage,' 'older,' 'signed,' 'estate,' and 'original,' when none of these words apply," according to fredericremington.org. Art world insiders have a few tricks for how to tell an original Frederic Remington from a fake.

Check the price and the vendor. This is one of the easiest ways to tell if you're dealing with an original work of art. Original Remingtons are worth millions of dollars. Sotheby's, Christie's and other elite auction houses are often the entities that sell them. When someone sells an original Remington, it's usually a newsworthy event.

Look for the foundry mark. Original sculptures always possess an indication of where each was made, whereas reproductions rarely do.

Look at the base of the sculpture. A bronze base signifies an original, whereas a marble base is typical of a copy.

Check under the bronze base for a single number. Remington gave original sculptures single numbers in the sequence that he made them. On the other hand, several numbers such as "10/200" underneath the base are a sure sign of a fake.

Tip

If the piece in question is a deemed an "original print," then it's a reproduction and not an original, as Remington did not create prints.

When in doubt, take your piece to a professional Remington appraiser who can tell you for sure. You can find an appraiser near you, or go to fredericremington.org and click on Authentication and Appraisal.

About the Author

Lane Cummings is originally from New York City. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in dance before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in literature and her Master of Arts in Russian literature at the University of Chicago. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lectured and studied Russian. She began writing professionally in 2004 for the "St. Petersburg Times."