The Smoke Signal (1905) by Frederic Remington

The Smoke Signal - Frederic Remington - 1905

Artwork Information

TitleThe Smoke Signal
ArtistFrederic Remington
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions30 1/2 x 48 1/4 inches
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationAmon Carter Museum, Fort Worth

About The Smoke Signal

“The Smoke Signal” is a genre painting created by Frederic Remington in 1905. The artwork is an oil on canvas, measuring 30 1/2 by 48 1/4 inches, and is currently located at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth. While the art movement associated with the piece is identified as Impressionism, Remington is more commonly known for his works that capture the essence of the American Old West, rather than for aligning with this particular artistic style.

The artwork depicts a scene of Native American life, possibly a moment of communication using a smoke signal. In the foreground, two figures are tending to a fire from which a plume of smoke is rising into the sky. One man is positioned close to the fire, signaling, while another stands beside him watching intently. Behind them, a third figure is mounted on a horse, also focused on the ascending smoke. The horses, too, seem to be part of this quiet, contemplative moment. The landscape suggests an open plain under a wide sky, which enhances the feeling of a vast, uninterrupted space where such signals could travel far and be seen from great distances. The brushwork and color palette capture the luminous quality of the atmosphere, possibly alluding to the connection between earth and sky, a theme often found in depictions of Native American traditions and culture. The representation of the characters and their horses is detailed and naturalistic, which is characteristic of Remington’s style, contrasting with the looser, more expressive brushstrokes that define the Impressionist movement.

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