Winslow Homer, “A Huntsman and Dogs,” 1891, oil on canvas, 28 1/8 x 48 inches, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Important works by some of America’s greatest 19th- and early 20th-century painters feature during an exhibition that celebrates artists’ captivation with hunting and fishing.

Thomas Cole, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Alfred Jacob Miller, and Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait are just a few of the blockbuster names that feature during “Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art,” on view now through August 27 at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont.

N.C. Wyeth, “Deep Cove Lobster Man,” circa 1938, oil on gessoed board, 16 1/4 x 22-3/4 inches, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia

For centuries, artists have been fascinated with hunting and fishing. Like creative endeavors, these leisure outdoor activities allow their champions to connect with nature and exercise patience. Although artists delighted in capturing these scenes, the images do so much more than illustrate diverting pastimes. Rather, “They connect a dynamic and developing American nation to its past and its future” according to the museum.

Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait, “A Tight Fix — Bear Hunting, Earl Winter,” 1856, oil on canvas, 40 x 60 inches, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville

More than 70 artworks from public and private collections are included in an exhibition that includes both painting and sculpture. “The rugged outdoor life informed the work of countless American artists,” suggests museum director Tom Denenberg, “and this exhibition is a rich exploration of an under-appreciated topic in American visual culture. It also offers viewers an opportunity to consider the human impact on and symbiosis with the natural world from a cultural and historical perspective, relevant to shifting environmental understanding.”

To learn more, visit the Shelburne Museum.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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