Remington Collection Vitural Art Museum

Tom Beecham

In 1971 Tom Beecham signed on to succeed Bob Kuhn as the artist for Remington Calendar, no one could have foreseen that it was the beginning of a run that would last three decades and result in 348 paintings.  His modest presence in the limited-edition print market, which translated into little if any promotion from publishers contributed to his relative lack of celebrity.  Beecham tended to be a private somewhat reserved person disinclined by nature toot his own horn.  The sheer time demands of producing twelve paintings a year for the calendar likely played a role, too, in preventing Beecham from making more of an impact on the wildlife art world.

Beecham eventually compiled a long list of illustration credits.  He worked for a long list of magazines, including Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, and Readers’ Digest; book publishers such as Random House, Harcourt-Brace, Bantam Books, and McGraw-Hill.  Over the years Beecham’s involvement with the Remington Calendar, its focus gradually shifted away from scenes with an explicit hunting/shooting element to what might be called “pure” wildlife scenes.  This was a reflection on America’s changing – and increasingly conflicted attitudes about hunting.

    In 1979 Beecham suffered a heart attack which left him incapable to complete the 1980 calendar.  Richard Amundsen was a widely published illustrator whose credits included many of the same magazines and other clients Beecham had worked for.  Beecham essentially hand picked Amundsen to serve as his temp and finish the six pieces yet to be done that year.  Beecham recovered and continued with no perceptible diminution of skill, to be the exclusive provider of art for the Remington Calendar for the next twenty-plus years.  He was creating new paintings for the 2001 calendar when his heart finally gave out.  The 2001 Remington Calendar; graced by the six paintings Beecham completed for it, was dedicated to his memory.