Rather than dominate the scene, the Indigenous American in A Figure of the Night blends into the surrounding environment. One can see him as a lookout, camouflaged by the trees behind, wearing a worried expression. Perhaps he is a boy doing a man’s job. The shadows on the snow in front of him and the dark woods behind encircle him like the jaws of a giant trap. There is imminent danger here and it is up to the viewer looking out from the woods to guess what it might be. The story, in short, is in the viewer’s head, not in the picture, and by 1908, Remington thought that the distinction was everything.
A Figure of the Night (The Sentinel)
Artist: Frederic Remington Year Completed: 1908 Medium: Oil on canvas Dimensions: 30 x 21.125 inches