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William Harnett
Just Dessert
Oil on canvas

22 1/4 x 26 3/4 inches
Friends of American Art Collection, 1942.50

Art Institute of Chicago

Excerpt from The Art Institute of Chicago:

William Michael Harnett
Just Dessert, 1891

One of only three works William Michael Harnett painted in the year before his death, Just Dessert offers the viewer a display of foodstuffs sumptuously arranged on a marble surface. The traditional tabletop composition is one that Harnett often employed in his still lifes. In Just Dessert, the exotic clashes with the quotidian—Maraschino liqueur, half a coconut, and Smyrna figs rest alongside a copper pitcher, pewter tankard, and ginger jar. Small crumbs of cork are visible on the grapes and fig seeds are smashed on the side of the wooden box, indicating that the dessert has been eaten, as well as highlighting Harnett’s skillful renderings in trompe l’oeil (fool-the-eye) painting.

— Permanent collection label

Additional Information:
Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories


Additional Information

William Harnett: Selected Biographies on Art in Context

William Harnett: Related Links on Art in Context


William Harnett, American, b. Ireland (1848–1892)
b. August 10, 1848, Clonakilty, County Cork
d. 1892

Art in Context - Projects:
Art in Context - Art for the Day: August 10

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