William Harnett and the Reinvention of Still-Life Painting

Wednesday, February 8, 2023
12:00 PM ET
Free with registration

Nika Elder will talk about the re-emergence and popularity of still life painting after the Civil War through the lens of PAFA-trained painter William Michael Harnett. Elevating the significance of Harnett's academic training, her talk explains how and why he transformed the genre of still life to assume the role that history painting had once played. As photographs of Black soldiers and amputees complicated conventional understandings of the heroic male body, Harnett deployed and pictured objects as a means to address the past without depicting the human figure. Harnett's work helps us understand how the Civil War impacted academic painting even—and especially—when it seems far removed from it.

Art At Noon lectures are supported by the Leftkoe family,  in memory of a beloved member of the docent corps, Mildred T. Leftkoe.

Image: William Michael Harnett (1848-1892), Still Life, 1887, Oil on canvas, framed: 43 3/4 x 39 1/4 x 2 1/2 in. (111.125 x 99.695 x 6.35 cm.); unframed: 24 1/4 x 20 in. (61.595 x 50.8 cm.), The Vivian O. and Meyer P. Potamkin Collection, Bequest of Vivian O. Potamkin. 


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Wednesday February 8
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
A link to join the online event will be shared in the registration confirmation email.
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Art At Noon: William Michael Harnett, Ambivalent Academic:
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