OGDENSBURG — The Frederic Remington Art Museum is looking to make and sell reproductions of one of the artist's most famous sculptures.
"The Rattlesnake," which was loaned to the museum in November, was digitally scanned May 28 to create about 50 ultra-detailed bronze reproductions. Museum officials expect the statues to be on the market by the end of the year and to sell from $12,000 to $17,000.
"What we're doing here is scanning an original, so we're not opening up the creation of this piece by a third artist," museum Executive Director Edward A. LaVarnway said. "We feel that it will be of interest to collectors who can't afford the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to have an original Remington cast, but would like to have something finer than what is typically on the marketplace. These will be true collectors items in limited edition."
"The Rattlesnake" that is being reproduced is the 14th casting of the original clay mold, but museum officials said they believe the casting numbers for "The Rattlesnake" sculpture are not accurate.
Since the mold loses detail with each casting, the lower the casting number, the more detailed and valuable the piece is. Museum officials said the sculpture is one of the most valuable of the museum's 17 bronzes.
"The first 11 'Rattlesnakes' were a different model, so this is actually the third casting of the new larger 'Rattlesnake,' even though it is called No. 14," Mr. LaVarnway said.
According to Mr. LaVarnway, the scanned image of the statue will be used to create a heavy foam mold of the sculpture that will be used to create the reproductions.
Due to the accuracy of the bronze reproduction, museum officials are looking at enlarging the statues slightly or altering the chemical composition of the metal to protect against counterfeiters, Mr. LaVarnway said.
"If you buy one of our really fine reproductions and then doctor it up to make it look like it comes from the original Roman Bronze Works foundry, you might be able to fraudulently pass it off as an original worth hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars," he said.
"The Rattlesnake" shows a rider and horse bucking in reaction to a rattlesnake at the base of the sculpture. Before being loaned to the museum, the statue being reproduced was at the White House for 12 years during the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.