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Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait - Deer, Early Morning on Racquette Lake in the Adirondack

Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (1819-1905), British-American
Deer, Early Morning on Racquette Lake in the Adirondack (Deer Hunting in the Adirondacks), 1872
OIL ON CANVAS, 21 ½ x 13 ½ inches
Gift of Horace Fairbanks

Known primarily for his hunting scenes, Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait's scene of deer wading in an inlet of New York's Raquette Lake (to use its current spelling) may well fall into that category, despite a notable absence of hunters. The stag in the foreground appears startled and looks in our direction, suggesting that the viewer may be cast in the hunter's role. The influence of Edwin Landseer, whose works Tait studied in the 1830s and early 1840s, is apparent in this tense moment, particularly when viewed in comparison with the engraved reproduction of Landseer's Stag at Bay on display upstairs in Athenaeum Hall. Two does in the background of Tait's composition and a group of migrating geese add a sense of the hunting ground's abundance