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    ARTHUR FITZWILLIAM TAIT (American, 1819-1905)
    A Brood of Chicks, 1865
    Oil on millboard
    9 x 12 inches (22.9 x 30.5 cm) (painted oval in rectangular format)
    Signed and dated lower right: A.J. Tait / 65
    Inscribed in pencil in the upper right corner of the board (outside the painted oval): Snedicor 446

    Sold at Henry H. Leed's sale, New York, April 5, 1866;
    Kennedy Galleries, Inc., New York (label verso);
    Private collection.

    W.H. Cadbury, Arthur Firzwilliam Tait: Artist in the Adirondacks, Newark, London and Toronto, 1986, no. 66.9, p. 189 (ill.) as "[No.] 446 Chickens, millboard 12 x 9 oval."

    The pencil annotation "Snedicor 446" is Tait's idiosyncratic spelling for John Snedecor, one of his most important art agents. Snedecor began as a picture framer who worked his way into the retail art market. As Cadbury noted, in addition to framing and selling Tait's work, Snedecor also handled many of the commercial details for the artist while he was living in suburban Morrisania: he handled the delivery of paintings as well as the payment transactions for the artist's privately commissioned canvases. "In 1860," Cadbury writes, "Snedecor became one of the first New York art dealers to capitalize on the auction as a method of merchandising paintings. Such auctions became so popular and successful that their number tripled in the next ten years. Competitive bidding in public sales rooms began to replace the older system of friendly and private negotiations between patron and painter in the studio" (p. 76).

    Snedecor's Gallery was located at 7678 Broadway. There, with Henry H. Leeds, the foremost auctioneer in the City, he held two special sales of Tait's work. The first was in December of 1893, when fifty-eight paintings were put on the block, and a second, larger auction followed three years later, on April 5, 1865. The present painting was one of the 69 paintings sold in the second auction, where Tait netted a total of $5,000. The catalogue for this second auction reveals that Tait--or Snedecor--had saved up work for some three years to sell at this special sale.

    Condition Report*: Faint scuff above left chick's eye; minor scattered accretions on center chick and top right chick and in grass to right of this chick; two tiny paint chips on lower right chick; under UV examination, scattered minor flecks of in-painting along sides and top of oval; otherwise good condition; frame dimensions:  14.75 x 18.5".
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2010
    10th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,057

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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