Frederic Remington "The Sergeant" Bronze, ca. 1905
Well, the artist is Frederic Remington. He was in Santiago, Cuba, during the battle of San Juan Hill. My grandmother's brother was there also with the Rough Riders. He showed a picture of my grandmother-- his sister-- to Frederic Remington, who took one look at it and thought she was quite beautiful and said that when they got back to New York, he wanted to meet her. In fact, they did meet. He wrote her a letter after that meeting, which... the letter is here. It says, "My dear Miss Burke: The photo is fine-- it comes as near doing justice to the original as any picture could hope to do. It makes most of our other pretty-girl pictures look sour around the mouth, but we are going to put you right up in the middle of them, and if they can't stand it, they must turn to the wall. Thanking you, I am your most devoted admirer, Frederic Remington." The bronze, which is called The Sergeant, he sent that to her as a gift. She supposedly was a model for him, but we never saw any picture. I've never seen any pictures by... of any women.
Well, as far as the artist is concerned, we're all familiar with Frederic Remington. He is one of the preeminent artists of his day. He was born in Canton, New York, actually in 1861, died in 1909. And strangely enough, he didn't start a lot of his bronzework until his latter part of years. He was the son of a cavalryman, and he had an enormous love of horses and the West. This particular bronze is by the Roman Bronze Company. It's done in a beautiful fashion, very crisply detailed. It is signed on the side and the signature is quite crisp and clear.
Well, my aunt, who gave it to me, told me that when it was given to her mother, she was told it was worth $200.
(laughs) I can assure you without question, and I think I am being very conservative when I tell you that this bronze is worth between $16,000 and $20,000.
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