Our Art / William Harnett

William Harnett

William Harnett

Though there had been a long tradition of photo realistic painting since the 17th century, Harnett (1848–1892) developed a distinct style, not only by rendering objects immaculately, but in his interest of depicting objects not usually made the subject of a painting. Instead of flowers or banquet spreads depicting the transience of life, Harnett painted musical instruments, hanging game, firearms, and even paper currency. His works sold well, but they were more likely to be found hanging in a tavern or a business office than in a museum, as they did not conform to contemporary notions of high art at the time.

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