A. F. Tait (1819 – 1905)
American Wildlife Artist

Godel & Co. has long championed the work of Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait. Hard-working and prolific, the British-born Tait was mid-nineteenth-century America’s most popular painter of sporting scenes and animal subjects. His popularity continues today, and we are pleased to present this online exhibition of works currently available for sale.

Click here for Tait’s biography.

 
 

Upon his arrival in the United States, Tait found that William Ranney (1813-1857) had created a market for the animal and sporting subject matter that Tait loved to paint. In Ranney Tait also found a willing mentor, who likely allowed Tait access to his paintings and collection of frontier props. One Ranney painting, On the Wing, 1850 (private collection), served as the inspiration for a series of important early Tait paintings, including Duck Shooting Over Decoys of 1854.

Duck Shooting over Decoys, 1854 Oil on canvas, 30 x 43 in., signed and dated lower right: A. F. Tait 1854 Exhibited: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1854 Price on request Inquire about this work Here Tait adopted a low-angle perspective, which gives the viewer a sense of participating in the action, and he also used a burst of light to spotlight the hunters amidst the dark marsh grass. Tait directed the viewer’s gaze from the central figure to his companion on the left, and then, following the hunters’ gaze, back toward the distant flying ducks. In this way, he generated the feeling of tense anticipation appropriate to this crucial moment before the hunter fires. Details such as the dead ducks lying at the hunter’s feet, the decoys floating on the water, and the provisions in the boat add further narrative depth.

Duck Shooting over Decoys, 1854
Oil on canvas, 30 x 43 in., signed and dated lower right: A. F. Tait 1854
Exhibited: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1854

Price on request
Inquire about this work

Here Tait adopted a low-angle perspective, which gives the viewer a sense of participating in the action, and he also used a burst of light to spotlight the hunters amidst the dark marsh grass. Tait directed the viewer’s gaze from the central figure to his companion on the left, and then, following the hunters’ gaze, back toward the distant flying ducks. In this way, he generated the feeling of tense anticipation appropriate to this crucial moment before the hunter fires. Details such as the dead ducks lying at the hunter’s feet, the decoys floating on the water, and the provisions in the boat add further narrative depth.


In 1850 Tait moved to New York City and established a camp in the Adirondacks, where he spent his summers. The Adirondacks proved to be an unending inspiration for him, and Tait soon became known for his paintings, watercolors, and sketches of hunting scenes and animals in their natural habitat. Tait’s deer themes set in the mountainous landscapes of the Adirondacks became especially popular and even gained him worldwide recognition.

Buck and Doe: October, 1879-1883 Oil on canvas, 24 x 40 in., signed lower right: James Hart Signed, inscribed, and dated lower right: A. F. Tait / N.A . / 1883 / Adirondacks / 1879 Note: This painting is a collaboration between Tait and James M. Hart (1828-1901). Price: $135,000 Inquire about this work This painting was originally sold to Peter Brett on November 18, 1879, and was returned to Tait in 1883; he then reworked it in collaboration with noted landscape painter James M. Hart. Tait and Hart sometimes worked together on the same canvases because the skill of one complimented the other. Tait excelled at painting animals, yet the surrounding landscape was not his forté. Little is known of the friendship between Tait and Hart, but it is believed that they first met in the summer of 1857 when they were both painting at Loon Lake in the Adirondacks.  Later, they both had studios in the same building in New York, at 600 Broadway.  Tait and Hart are known to have collaborated on only a dozen paintings, making our large, impressive canvas a rare and unique example of American sporting painting. 

Buck and Doe: October, 1879-1883
Oil on canvas, 24 x 40 in., signed lower right: James Hart
Signed, inscribed, and dated lower right: A. F. Tait / N.A . / 1883 / Adirondacks / 1879
Note: This painting is a collaboration between Tait and James M. Hart (1828-1901).
Price: $135,000
Inquire about this work

This painting was originally sold to Peter Brett on November 18, 1879, and was returned to Tait in 1883; he then reworked it in collaboration with noted landscape painter James M. Hart. Tait and Hart sometimes worked together on the same canvases because the skill of one complimented the other. Tait excelled at painting animals, yet the surrounding landscape was not his forté. Little is known of the friendship between Tait and Hart, but it is believed that they first met in the summer of 1857 when they were both painting at Loon Lake in the Adirondacks.  Later, they both had studios in the same building in New York, at 600 Broadway.  Tait and Hart are known to have collaborated on only a dozen paintings, making our large, impressive canvas a rare and unique example of American sporting painting. 


An avid sportsman and lover of the outdoors, Tait was fond of observing and sketching animals in their natural habitat. He was an enthusiastic huntsman and often painted scenes of hunters in a variety of settings, frequently shown with their faithful canine companions. A favorite hunting motif throughout his career was scenes of prairie or woodland interiors with a pair of pointers or setters alerted to wild foul such as grouse, quail or woodcock. Tait gave many of these scenes titles such as A Close Point, Ruffed Grouse Shooting, and Steady, Woodcock Shooting, which indicate to the viewer that even though the hunter is not depicted, he is not far away.

Steady, Woodcock Shooting, 1886 Oil on canvas, 16 x 24 in., signed and dated lower right: A. F. Tait N. A. / N. Y. 86 Exhibited: National Academy of Design, 1886, no. 718. Price: $95,000 Inquire about this work

Steady, Woodcock Shooting, 1886
Oil on canvas, 16 x 24 in., signed and dated lower right: A. F. Tait N. A. / N. Y. 86
Exhibited: National Academy of Design, 1886, no. 718.
Price: $95,000
Inquire about this work


Setters and Quail, 1871 Oil on canvas, 14 x 22 in., signed and dated lower right Price: $85,000 Inquire about this work

Setters and Quail, 1871
Oil on canvas, 14 x 22 in., signed and dated lower right
Price: $85,000
Inquire about this work


Delightful paintings of wild fowl chicks, such as grouse and quail, were a favorite motif throughout Tait’s career, and were a reliable source of income for him.

Young Ruffed Grouse, 1858 Oil on canvas, 9 ½ x 12 ½ in., signed lower left: A. F. Tait / NY Price: $28,000 Inquire about this work

Young Ruffed Grouse, 1858
Oil on canvas, 9 ½ x 12 ½ in., signed lower left: A. F. Tait / NY
Price: $28,000
Inquire about this work


Quail and Young, 1865 Oil on board, 10 x 12 in., signed and dated lower right: A.F. Tait / 1865 Price: $28,000 Inquire about this work

Quail and Young, 1865
Oil on board, 10 x 12 in., signed and dated lower right: A.F. Tait / 1865
Price: $28,000
Inquire about this work


Chickens, 1865 Oil on artistboard, 10 x 14 in., signed and dated lower right: A. F. Tait / 1865 Price: $18,000 Inquire about this work

Chickens, 1865
Oil on artistboard, 10 x 14 in., signed and dated lower right: A. F. Tait / 1865
Price: $18,000
Inquire about this work


Please contact the gallery to make an appointment to view these works by A. F. Tait. 

We are always interested in purchasing works by this artist.

Howard Godel, President
Katherine Baumgartner, Director
Ellery Kurtz, Director

Godel & Co., Inc.
506 East 74th Street, 4W
New York, NY, 10021
212-288-7272
Hours: Monday – Friday, 10am – 5:30pm
Saturday and Sunday by appointment