William Michael Harnett (William Michael Harnett)

William Michael Harnett

Artist. Born in Ireland, he immigrated to the United States with his parents shortly after his birth. Becoming a citizen in 1868, he took night classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and later studied at Cooper Union in New York City. He practiced a trompe l’oeil style of realistic painting. His still lifes of ordinary objects, arranged on a ledge or hanging from a nail, are painted in such a way that the painting can be mistaken for the objects themselves. Some of his most famous works include “The Old Violin” at the National Gallery of Art and “The Cincinnati Enquirer” at The White House. (bio by: Garver Graver)


  • August, 10, 1848
  • Ireland


  • October, 10, 1892
  • USA


  • Old Cathedral Cemetery
  • Pennsylvania
  • USA

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