EXTRACTS: Illustrators issue 27 © 2019 The Book Palace (96 PAGES in Full edition)

96 How some Hollywood actors try to compete with each other when buying art. Frederic Remington was a very prolific artist, having done over 3,000 paintings and drawings during his lifetime. At one point, towards the end of his career, tired of being considered an ‘illustrator’ he burned dozens of the oil paintings to prove that he didn’t care to be seen as an illustrator anymore. Decades after his death, most of his paintings were already selling for millions of dollars. Known primarily as a western artist who did dynamic paintings of cowboys and Indians on their galloping horses, he had become one of America’s favourite painters. As mentioned in the feature dedicated to this artist, his bronze sculptures, which are still being reproduced to this day, seem to have found a place in every corporate manager’s office in America. Smaller sized bronze sculptures sell for a couple thousand dollars and are thus, available to almost anyone. However, when it comes to his paintings, especially those featuring the dynamic images—well, prices range around the millions. The following is an anecdote told by Hollywood actor Burt Reynolds in both his autobiographies: ‘My Life’ and ‘But Enough About Me’. Mr. Reynolds had acquired much Western art during his lifetime, and even had some Remington bronze sculptures, but this anecdote took place during his early years, just as he had made it as a Hollywood star. Since he had been doing quite well in the movie business, Reynolds thought it was time to get interested in art as well. Always a fan of Western art, he had just learned that his friend, fellow actor Clint Eastwood, had recently acquired a painting by cowboy artist Charles Russell, and was quite jealous. So he figured he’d one- up Eastwood by acquiring a painting by Remington “famous for his dynamic horses and vivid colours,” as Reynolds put it in his book. He went to a local art gallery and asked whether they had a Remington. Sure enough they had one, and it was beautiful. Reynolds asked how much was it. “A million two,” the man said. “I don’t like it anymore!” said Reynolds. Nevertheless, the gallery owner seeing the interest the actor had in Remington said he’d ask around town and see whether he could find something with a more affordable price. He did, and notified Reynolds that he had found a Remington for sale at $80,000. Reynolds bought it sight unseen and asked for it to be delivered to his house and hung in his living room, as he would be away for a while shooting a film. Once the filming was wrapped, Reynolds gladly took a flight back home to L.A. and raced from the airport to his home. He could hardly wait to see his recently acquired Remington painting. He even called his friend Clint Eastwood telling him to meet him at his place for a surprise. Arriving home, Reynolds dropped his bags in the hallway and ran to the living room. This is what he wrote about seeing the painting for the first time: “The picture was so dark I could barely see it on the wall. It was the only picture Remington ever did in black and white. No cowboys, no horses, just a couple of mangy goats and a skinny little Indian in the background who looked like Ghandi.” When Eastwood arrived, he squinted at the picture and said, “Who the hell did that crap?” In fact, contrary to what Mr. Reynolds claimed, Remington did paint hundreds of black and white pictures, mainly because the magazines during that period were printed in black and white. Although many of his black and white paintings were actually great (see main feature of this issue), there were, nonetheless, a couple of duds, too. ● From The Inside: It came from Hollywood ABOVE: A Navajo Sheep Herder, oil on canvas, 1888. Although it doesn’t look like a dynamic Remington painting, it is indeed one of his black-and-white oils (actual whereabouts unknown).