Still Life

William Michael Harnett American

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.

Still Life, William Michael Harnett (1848–1892), Oil on canvas, American

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