Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Still Life

Artist:
William Michael Harnett (1848–1892)
Date:
1888
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
14 x 17 1/8 in. (35.6 x 43.5 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Bequest of Susan Vanderpoel Clark, 1967
Accession Number:
67.155.1
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774
Painted after Harnett's return from studies in Munich, this tabletop still life features objects more elegant than those featured in the artist's early still life of beer steins and pipes or books and inkwells. The austere setting allows him to focus on the textiles and surfaces of a well-lit frieze of objects: worn books shown with gilt spines and fanned pages, a piccolo, and some stained, torn sheet music hanging off the table's edge. Some of these items, for example, the tall Dutch jar, are familiar models that Harnett owned and used repeatedly; but all reflect the American public's enthusiasm for collecting and displaying bric-à-brac during the 1880s.
Signature: [at lower left]: WMH [monogram] ARNETT. / 1888

Inscription: [on the back]: Painted to order / by / Wm M. Harnett, / Studio 28 E 14th St., / New York. / Finished--March 27, 1888
probably with Frost and Reed, London, 1940; with M. Knoedler and Company, New York, 1940–1941; Stephen C. Clark, New York, 1941–died 1960; his wife, Susan Vanderpoel Clark, New York, 1960–died 1967
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