Teaching a Mustang Pony to Pack Dead Game, ca. 1890
Oil on canvas
Growing up in upstate New York, Frederic Remington became entranced by the American West, a place he imagined filled with cowboys, Indians and adventure. Following a trip in 1881 into the Montana Territory, he temporarily adopted the life of a cowboy and began making art that reinforced nostalgic fantasies about the frontier West, which was declared exhausted by the 1890 census. Teaching a Mustang Pony to Pack Dead Game focuses on cowboys attempting to force a pony to overcome its innate fear of a dead antelope. Remington painted the dynamic black-and-white composition to be an engraved illustration in the August 16, 1890, issue of Harper's Weekly.