Pitched It Sheer into the River . . . Where It Still Is Seen in the Summer

Artist: Frederic Remington (American, Canton, New York 1861–1909 Ridgefield, Connecticut)

Date: 1889

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 20 x 28 1/4in. (50.8 x 71.8cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Anonymous Gift, 1962

Accession Number: 62.241.3


In 1888 Remington was commissioned to illustrate The Song of Hiawatha, the epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, for a deluxe edition published in 1891. By then a sophisticated practitioner of the grisaille technique, Remington executed twenty-two black-and-white oil paintings, one for each of the poem’s cantos. This depiction accompanies canto 6, which describes Hiawatha’s two closest friends: Chibiabos, the musician, and Kwasind, the strong man. The jagged boulder in the river alludes to one of Kwasind’s feats of strength. Taunted with accusations of laziness, he threw a huge rock into the Pauwating River, where it remained visible above the waterline during the summer months.