Friends or Foes? (The Scout)

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A solitary Blackfoot Indian leans forward on his horse, gazing across a snowy landscape at the lights of a distant encampment. The figure’s pose, the horse’s breath, and the glimmering sky create an almost palpable stillness and tension—the rider has no way of knowing if he would be welcome at the camp. The painting’s somber mood reflects a shift in Remington’s many images of the West and its increasingly isolated Native American population, indicating nostalgia for a way of life he felt was disappearing.

Frederic Remington

American, 1861–1909

Friends or Foes? (The Scout)


Oil on canvas

27 x 40 in. (68.6 x 101.6 cm) Frame: 37 5/8 × 50 1/2 × 3 in. (95.6 × 128.3 × 7.6 cm)

Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1945




Conrads, Margaret C. American Paintings and Sculpture at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1990.