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Classification: Painting

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Image of Still Life with Universal Gazetteer

William Michael Harnett
American, born Ireland, 1848–1892

Still Life with Universal Gazetteer

1878

Object Type: Painting
Creation Place: North America, American, Pennsylvania
Dimensions:
7 7/8 in. x 11 7/8 in. (20 cm x 30.16 cm)
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Accession Number: 1989.0002.0014

Credit Line: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama, The Blount Collection

Currently On View


"Still Life with Universal Gazetteer" is one of many variations on Harnett’s writer’s or banker’s table compositions. Most commonly, the paintings include one or more books, an open letter that is partially legible, money, an ink well, and a quill. In the case of "Universal Gazetteer," the painting is a writer’s desk with a worn copy of the bound Volume One of the reference "Universal Gazetteer."

Works such as this one were designed to appeal to the artist's primary patrons, who have been identified as largely self-made, wealthy businessmen. For these patrons, the objects seen here would have been familiar accoutrements of everyday life.

American Paintings from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 2006, cat. no. 21, p. 72.

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