Texas is often stereotyped as the state of the Old Western towns, of cowboys, and of gun enthusiasts among other Old Western themed stuff. And if you find yourself in the city of Dallas, perhaps it’s time to put on your cowboy hat and check out the fantastic Sid Richardson Museum at Fort Worth for magical look in to the past of the great Lonestar State.
If the idea of gangs of cowboys roaming the deserts on their horses with a setting sun behind their backs is something that you find appealing. Or if just the idea of how life was like back in the Old West when, instead of vast technologically advanced and lit up cities, small wooden towns with often only a few houses, a bar, and a couple of shops littered the landscape is something that gets you going. The Sid Richardson Museum is definitely the place for you to visit during your tour of Texas.
What is the Sid Richardson Museum?
The Sid Richardson Museum first opened in the year 1982. From its initial design and inception, the museum was decided to be dedicated to the works of artists who depicted the bygone era of the Old West in their works. Every thing from the location of the museum – which bleeds Old Western vibes while still allowing quick access to Downtown Dallas – to the look and structure of the building itself – which was a replica of a building from a much older time – the museum has tried its best to get its visitors as immersed in the Old Western fantasy as possible.
The museum mostly features the art collections of Sid Williams Richardson, who was born in 1891 and died in 1959. Sid Williams Richardson was a philanthropist as well as an oilman, and had a soft spot for the sort of Old Western themed art that is depicted in the Sid Richardson Museum today. He acquired his paintings through Newhouse Galleries in New York, and though the collection features many different artists, the most focus is on works of artists Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russel. Both artists specialized in depicting fantastical renditions of the Old West alongside depictions that were more grounded in reality and facts.
A Little About Frederic Remington
Frederic Remington was born on the 4th of October in 1861 to parents Seth Pierrepont Remington and Clarissa Bascom Sackrider in Canton, New York. He died on the 26th of December in 1909, at the relatively young but common for that time age of 48. Frederic Remington was a painter and illustrator, but also worked in sculpting and writing. His primary focus in his works was on the Old American West, including but not limited to depictions of cowboys, the United States cavalry, and American Indians.
Frederic Remington’s ancestors have quite a few accomplishments and achievements to their names. Frederic Remington’s father’s ancestors had moved to the United States from England in 1637. Seth Pierrepont Remington himself was a Union army officer of the rank of Colonel in the American Civil War. Whereas Frederic Remington’s mother’s ancestors were of French Basque descent and also arrived in the Americas some time in the early 1600’s. They are also known for having founded the town of Windsor in Connecticut.
Seth Pierrepont Remington fighting in the American Civil War was not a first however, not by a long shot. Frederic Remington’s ancestors had fought in the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and the War of 1812 before. The Remington family’s past also sort of foreshadowed Fredric Remington’s fascination with the Old West, as they had been horsemen. Samuel Bascom, a great-grandfather of Frederic Remington, had been a saddle maker. Frederic Remington was also the cousin of Eliphalet Remington, who was the founder of America’s oldest gunmaker; the Remington Arms Company. Frederic Remington is also distantly related to America’s first president George Washington.
As a child, Frederic Remington was sent off to Vermont Episcopal Institute by his father in the hopes that the military school would straighten up and discipline his son from his current lazy sort. It was soon evident that Frederic Remington wouldn’t make a good soldier, but he did learn to draw caricatures of his fellow classmates once he transferred to a different military school. This cemented the idea of wanting a modest life in Frederic Remington’s mind, something he even voiced in a letter he wrote to his uncle at the age of sixteen.
Frederic Remington would go on to attend art school at Yale University, and the further on to work as journalist before going on a trip at the age of nineteen where he saw the last vestiges of the Old West as cowboys and small Old Western towns were replaced by modernization and industry and the last native tribes of the land were assaulted by the United States Cavalry. After getting this first-hand experience of the Old West, he would go on to improve his sketches as time went on.
Frederic Remington faced a bit more difficulty getting on his feet. There was a period during which he was alone and broke, and had to sell off his art just to afford the bare essentials to get by. Soon however, he realized that a profession in art could be just what he needed, and the sudden interest in newspaper articles focusing on the collapse of the Old West was just the boost he needed to get his lucky break and finally make it in life.
Frederic Remington Paintings at the Museum
The Sid Richardson Museum boasts a rich collection of art depicting the Old West. Though the works of Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell dominate the galleries much like the collections of Sid Williams Richardson before them, works of many other 19th and 20th Century artists are also found at the museum. At the Sid Richardson Museum you can expect to have a lot of fun activities to engage in, including but not limited to educational programs and events for all age demographics and families, tours of the exhibitions, related helpful facilities, and a retail space as well. Admission to the museum is always free of charge, and a virtual tour exists on the museum’s official website so you can judge if you want to pay the museum a visit or not.
For a state that is often thought of as the cowboy state, the Sid Richardson Museum is a very fitting institution to be housed in Texas. If part of the reason for you vacationing through Texas was to experience “cowboy culture”, the Sid Richardson Museum is an absolute must for you to visit, especially if you’re with family or a group of friends. If you’re wanting to experience a time period set slightly after the Old West, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth might be worth checking out for some post World War 2 artworks. Or perhaps viewing a fun performance is more up your alley, in which case the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall would be the perfect place for you to check out.