About This Artwork

Frederic Remington
American, 1861–1909

The Mexican Major, 1889

Oil on canvas
87 x 124.8 cm (34 1/4 x 49 1/8 in.)
Signed, lower left: "Copyrighted/ Frederic Remington/ '89"

George F. Harding Collection, 1982.804

Frederic Remington was greatly impressed by the Mexican army, which he observed during a six-week visit to Mexico in 1889 in preparation for an article in Harper’s Weekly magazine. The Mexican Major is an elaborate, multifigural composition, designed to convey the professionalism, discipline, and “immensely picturesque” appearance of the officer and his regiment. Remington enjoyed the soldiers' ornate costumes, and he emphasized these through the use of rhythmic, flashing colors and the depiction of brilliant light. The line of horsemen stretches off into the far distance—a sign of honor, strength, and dignity.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

New York, American Art Galleries, 1890

Boston Art Club, 1891.

Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings and Bronzes by Frederic Remington Lent by the George F. Harding Museum, June 21-October 10, 1969.

Mt. Vernon, Ill., Mitchell Museum, Harding Foundation, Medieval and Renaissance Armor and Weapons, Remington Paintings, Bronzes and Drawings, December 5, 1981-January 31, 1982, cat. no. 405.

Art Institute of Chicago, Frederic Remington, September 1-October 11, 1982, no cat. published.

Phoenix Art Museum, Frederic Remington’s Southwest, January 4-March 15, 1992, James K. Ballinger, p. 44, ill.; traveled to Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, April 19-June 12, 1992; Omaha, Neb., Joslyn Art Museum, July 11-September 6, 1992.

Art Institute of Chicago, Window on the West: Chicago and the Art of the New Frontier 1890-1940, June 28-October 13, 2003, fig. 5, p. 85, 169..

Publication History

Harper’s Weekly, September 27, 1890, ill. p. 752.

Henry C. Pitz, Frederic Remington: 173 Drawings and Illustrations (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1972), ill. no. 113.

Peter H. Hassrick and Melissa J. Webster, Frederic Remington: A Catalogue Raisonne of Paintings, Watercolors and Drawings, Volume I (Buffalo Bill Historical Center / University of Washington Press, 1996), no. 964.

Peter H. Hassrick, et al. Frederick Remington Catalogue Raisonne, cat. 00964, (http://remington.centerofthewest.org).

Ownership History

W.R. Hearst Collection. George F. Harding Museum, Chicago, by 1982; given to the Art Institute, 1982.

Interpretive Resources

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