Violin and Bow

Jefferson D. Chalfant American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

This work is a simplified repetition of a picture Chalfant had painted the previous year, "The Old Violin" (Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington), which itself depended on William Michael Harnett’s more complex painting of the same title (1886; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.). Here, Chalfant focused only on the fiddle, a popular nineteenth-century instrument, hanging with its bow against a background of silvery paneled wood. Chalfant’s precision and exactitude, as well as the extreme austerity of the composition and palette, give his trompe-l’oeil (“deceive the eye”) effects astonishing conviction and veracity.

Violin and Bow, Jefferson D. Chalfant (American, 1856–1931), Oil on canvas, American

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