Brunk Auctions
Live Auction

Premier Auction - Session II - March 25, 2023

Sat, Mar 25, 2023 09:00AM EDT
Lot 1059

After William Michael Harnett

Estimate: $800 - $1,200

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $25
$100 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $200
$3,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

(American, 19th century)

The Old Violin, 1886, with possible initials of copyist on sheet music center "EVR", oil on canvas, 36 x 24 in.; period carved wood frame, 43 x 31 in.

Note: The original by Harnett has been a favorite of copyists for decades. It is an icon of the collection in the National Gallery of Art:

William Michael Harnett, The Old Violin, 1886, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Mellon Scaife in honor of Paul Mellon, 1993.15.1.   

"The public was fascinated by The Old Violin, the somber trompe l'oeil still life created by William Harnett in 1886. People would reach out to touch the violin or try to grasp the envelope to determine if the objects were real or painted. Thanks to a widely distributed chromolithograph, The Old Violin would become an icon of American art, inspiring a group of illusionist painters—including John F. Peto—to make their own versions."



original stretcher bars and tacking edge, at least 6 small patch repairs verso and corresponding retouch recto, crackle; frame with wear, separation at corners

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