WILLIAM MICHAEL HARNETT (1848-1892)
WILLIAM MICHAEL HARNETT (1848-1892)
WILLIAM MICHAEL HARNETT (1848-1892)
WILLIAM MICHAEL HARNETT (1848-1892)
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PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF MORTON AND NORMA LEE FUNGER
WILLIAM MICHAEL HARNETT (1848-1892)

London Times, July 17, 1879

Details
WILLIAM MICHAEL HARNETT (1848-1892)
London Times, July 17, 1879
signed with initials in monogram and dated 'WM Harnett./1879.' (lower left)
oil on canvas
11 x 15 ¼ in. (27.9 x 38.7 cm.)
Painted in 1879.
Provenance
Robert L. Davis, Pelham Manor, New York, by 1953.
Kennedy Galleries, Inc., New York, 1967.
Acquired by the late owners from the above, circa 1970.
Literature
A. Frankenstein, After the Hunt: William Harnett and Other American Still Life Painters, 1870-1900, Berkeley, California, 1953, p. 167, no. 56 (as Still Life).
"Reality, Romanticism, Realism: Two Centuries of American Painting," The Kennedy Quarterly, vol. VII, no. 4, December 1967, p. 284, no. 281, illustrated (as Still Life with New York Times).
M.A. Erhardt, E. Broun, The Norma Lee and Martin Funger Art Collection, Lunenberg, Vermont, 1999, pp. 18-19, illustrated.

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Lot Essay

A quintessential example of his trompe l’oeil compositions, the present work illustrates Harnett’s masterful approach to illusionistic painting. Atop a black marble table rests a letter, book, ink bottle, newspaper, and pocket knife. The pearly handle of the knife draws the viewer in, while its blade points one’s eye in the direction of a letter that reads: “now if…/your favor…/let me hear from…/…ediately and while…/…gaged on that work the…/…that I would call…/…ular attention to, of…” (as quoted in A. Frankenstein, After the Hunt: William Harnett and Other American Still Life Painters, 1870-1900, Berkeley, California, 1953, p. 167) Resting on the book, as if just set down by its reader, is an issue of the London Times dated to July 17, 1879. Harnett’s inclusion of contemporary ephemera adds a layer of realism that elaborates upon his visual illusions, creating the impression that the viewer has just entered someone’s private study, providing insight into the lives of his patrons.

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