Frederic Remington - Fight for the Water Hole (1901)
Paul Klee - Sinbad the Sailor (1923)
We all love to have adventures -- to see or do entirely new and different things, or to visit wonderful, faraway
places. But when we cannot it is great fun to go adventuring in our imaginations, pretending for a while that the
exciting things that happen to others, in make-believe or real life, can actually happen to us, too.
When Frederic Remington painted Fight for the Water Hole at the turn of the last century, every schoolchild's idea
of high adventure was life in the "Wild West"- riding the plains, driving huge herds of cattle, finding a fortune in gold
nuggets, or dodging the arrows of unfriendly natives. Remington fired their imaginations with his masterful paintings
of scenes like these, creating storytelling vignettes filled with action and authentic details.
Paul Klee's Sinbad the Sailor tells a story, too - not one about real people who actually lived like Remington's
characters, but about a mythical hero from the Arabian Nights. The stories about Sinbad describe adventure after
perilous adventure, all of which he survived thanks to his extraordinary cleverness, physical prowess - and
incredible good luck. These tales of make-believe have been well loved and retold for centuries. It is not surprising
that Klee, who loved fantasies, chose to paint Sinbad in one of his many life-or-death situations, depicting this fairy
tale adventurer in a unique whimsical style.
One of the most appealing aspects of these paintings is that each artist has left it up to us to finish the story he has
begun. Will Remington's cowboys be able to hold off the marauders? Will Sinbad be swallowed up by the three
monstrous fish or will he survive to set off on yet another fantastic voyage? Perhaps the children will have fun
supplying their own endings to these adventures!
Fight for the Water Hole Sinbad the Sailor