Yesterday’s visit to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas was a long waited-for experience. I’ve often read about the museum and always wanted to go but never was able to actually fit it into my schedule. It’s on every tourist list of ‘Things To See’ and now, having been there, it stands out as one of my top 4 or 5 museums in the world. With it’s focus on American Art, mostly from the mid 1800’s to around 1930, the museum houses Amon Carter’s superb collection of works by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell—the two greatest artists of the American West. Sculptures, paintings, photographs and mixed media – the museum is wonderful place to spend a few hours discovering our landscapes and our people through the eyes of great artists. While much of the art portrays the allure of The West as it was being explored in the 1800’s, there are other representations of our county’s development, including early rural landscapes of Stanton Island in New York, and industrial skylines in the North.
It’s no wonder this is one of my favorite museums – it’s probably my favorite time in American History. It covers so much of the West that I love: Montana, cowboys, Yellowstone, portraits, big sky landscapes, Native Americans, Texas, cattle, buffalo and horses.
One very informative section of the museum presents the bronze casting processes that Russell and Remington used. In my high school shop class, we actually did aluminum casting, using packed sand to create molds. At a recent art festival in Houston, I’d talked with an sculptor who used the ‘lost wax’ method of casting bronze which I wasn’t familiar with. I studied up on it a bit, but at this museum, an informative video explains the lengthy process. Then side by side comparisons were also displayed of the sand versus lost wax methods, with the lost wax technique revealing much more detail in the final cast.
When viewing art, I like to know a little more about what I’m looking at than just the artists name and the date it was made. I was quite pleased with the paragraph that accompanied each piece of art, explaining the artists intent when making the image or sculpture, the technique and often a short note on the artists life. Then I could step back and take in the entire work, history and all. Here’s an example of what I just described (be sure to scroll down below the picture to read the text): The Fall of the Cowboy, 1895
The website offers a generous posting of the museums art along with a biography of Amon Carter, the development of the collection and the museum, and the building’s architecture in the Fort Worth landscape next to the Will Rogers Memorial.
Everyday, all day and to everybody.
How blessed we are!