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A Lost Painting By Frederic Remington
( Orginally published 1962 )
There is a lost painting depicting a cavalry charge, about which there is so much mystery that it is a wonder that it can even be written about as a missing treasure. Yet we have a photograph of it.
No one, that we know of, has ever seen the painting. No one knows where the painting is now. No one knows how it disappeared, or when it disappeared. No one knows exactly when or where the painting was executed. No one knows the exact size of the painting. Yet it is one of the lost treasures of the art world.
When the personal papers of Frederic Remington, the great artist of the old West, were scrutinized, a photograph was found-a photograph showing a painting of a cavalry charge.
Typically, as if charging right out of a television or movie screen, the cavalrymen present a heroic appearance. The officers are waving sabres and Colt revolvers, the soldiers are brandishing their rifles. Like any Hollywood group of Western extras, they are wearing Stetsons and the inevitable kerchiefs around their necks.
There are other items in the photograph besides this painting, but the painting overshadows everything else-because this painting is by the master Remington who put the history of the early West onto canvas.
Remington knew the West. He lived there, working with the cow boys, and once actually lived with a group of friendly Indians. He also served with the United States Army in their troubles with those Indians who had not yet succumbed to the superior forces of the white man.
When Remington painted his people of the old West, he knew what he was doing; he painted them as they lived, worked and fought.
This quality is evident in the painting of the cavalry charge, and the experts agree. They have labeled the work as an authentic Remington, a painting fine enough to make the old West live again.
As far as we know, no one has ever seen it, but we know what it looked like because of the photograph. No one knows how it disappeared. We do not know when it was painted, but logically it must have been sometime between 1880, the year Remington began painting, and 1909, the year he died.
It is thought to be a large painting, approximately ten by six feet. Certainly too large to be missed if you do run across it. And if you do find it, there is a buyer for it. The Old Sunny Brook Distillery Co. flatly state that they not only want the painting but that they are willing to pay $25,000 for it.
They state, "we want this picture for use in our advertising and promotional work, which utilizes the paintings of Frederic Remington as illustrations."
For many years this company has shown Remingtons in their advertising. If the painting can be found, the company wishes to use it as "a focal point of a traveling exhibit of Remingtons."
Shortly after Sunny Brook Whiskey announced their offer of a reward for the lost Remington, hundreds of letters started pouring in; each clue was followed, yet no trace of the painting could be found.
The company continues to follow every new lead. One of them, eventually, might be the clue that leads them to the Remington painting-which even now might be in your attic.
If you think you have the Remington, do not send the painting to the company. Take a photograph of it, and write to the Old Sunny Brook Art Jury, Room 1100, 99 Park Avenue, New York 16, N.Y., enclosing the photo. It will be submitted to a panel of experts headed by Harold McCracken, authority on Remington and curator of the Whitney Museum for Western Paintings, at Cody, Wyoming. If the snapshot you submit is judged likely to be of the missing painting, the painting will be inspected. If it is then judged to be the missing painting and in good condition, they will pay you $25,000 for it.
It is possible, according to the company, that the painting may be worth more than $25,000; it may be worth $30,000 or even $50,0001 If you wish, the panel of art experts who judge the work will submit it on your account to art galleries and interested buyers for the highest bidding.
If they offer more than the company's guaranteed $25,000 you will be free to sell the picture without any claim by the company, except for use of the picture in their advertising. You will receive the full purchase price, but will have no claim on the company.
With an offer like this, you cannot lose! So take another look in your attic, in your basement, and in the neighborhood second-hand store, where it could be hanging on the walls with a price tag of only a few dollars on it. If you can find it, the painting could be worth as much as $50,000 to you.