Renowned Art
William Harnett



William Michael Harnett (1848-1892) was an Irish-American painter who helped pioneer a trompe l'oeil (literally, "fool the eye") style of realistic painting. He painted still lifes of common household objects arranged in such a way that the painting was to be mistaken for the objects themselves. These objects included musical instruments, firearms, and even paper currency, similar to contemporary John Haberle and successor Otis Kaye.

Overall, Harnett's work is most comparable to that of John F. Peto. An interesting comparison can be made between two paintings featuring violins. Harnett's, from 1886, shows the violin upright and in brand-new condition with a new piece of sheet music behind it. The elements are arranged in a stable, deliberate manner. Peto's 1890 painting shows the violin askew, as well as chipped and worn. The sheet music is dog-eared and torn around the edges, and placed haphazardly behind the instrument. Harnett's works indeed tended to emphasise an almost mechanical perfection, while Peto's were more reflective of human interaction.


All artists, with thumbnail & description, sorted: Alphabetically  |  By birth year

All artists, no thumbnail or description, sorted: Alphabetically  |  By birth year

Artists born in the  13th  14th  15th  16th  17th  18th  19th  20th  Century
Female artists, sorted: Alphabetically  |  By birth year
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  
   Artists  |  Forums  |  Contact  |  Links  |  Digital Consciousness  |  Home