Philadelphia Public Ledger

William Michael Harnett's painting, ""Philadelphia Public Ledger,"" created in the late 19th century, holds exceptional significance. Completed in 1879, the artwork captures a meticulously detailed still life of the newspaper, depicting the popular Philadelphia Public Ledger. Harnett's mastery of trompe-l'oeil technique, an optical illusion of three-dimensionality, is what makes this piece truly remarkable. The painting deceives viewers with its lifelike representation, enticing them to question reality. By immortalizing a newspaper, Harnett not only showcases his technical prowess but also comments on the importance of journalism in society. This work remains a testament to Harnett's skill and the enduring power of visual art.

33 cm

Please note: by default the aspect ratio of the original artwork is used.

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Total € 195

Title: “”Philadelphia Public Ledger: A Captivating Illusion by William Michael Harnett””

Year Painted: 1879

William Michael Harnett, an acclaimed American artist of the late 19th century, crafted a truly extraordinary masterpiece known as the “”Philadelphia Public Ledger.”” Completed in 1879, this painting holds immense significance in the realm of trompe-l’oeil art.

Harnett’s unparalleled skill in capturing intricate details and creating optical illusions shines through in this remarkable piece. The “”Philadelphia Public Ledger”” is a still life composition that deceives viewers with its lifelike representation, blurring the boundaries between reality and art.

The painting depicts a newspaper, specifically the popular Philadelphia Public Ledger. Harnett’s meticulous attention to detail brings every element to life, from the creases and folds of the paper to the reflections and shadows cast upon it. The artist’s ability to recreate textures and surfaces with remarkable precision is awe-inspiring.

What makes this painting particularly special is Harnett’s mastery of trompe-l’oeil technique. Derived from French for “”deceive the eye,”” trompe-l’oeil creates the illusion of three-dimensionality, fooling viewers into believing they are observing real objects rather than painted representations. Harnett’s expertise in this technique is evident in the convincing realism of the newspaper, compelling viewers to question the boundaries between art and reality.

Beyond its technical brilliance, the “”Philadelphia Public Ledger”” carries a deeper significance. By immortalizing a newspaper in his artwork, Harnett pays homage to the importance of journalism in society. Newspapers were vital sources of information, shaping public opinion and facilitating the exchange of ideas during that era. Harnett’s choice to depict the Philadelphia Public Ledger specifically may reflect his appreciation for the role played by this publication in his local community.

The enduring appeal of the “”Philadelphia Public Ledger”” lies in its ability to captivate and engage viewers even over a century later. It serves as a testament to Harnett’s artistic genius and the timeless power of visual art to provoke thought and challenge perceptions.

Today, this masterpiece can be admired at various art museums, reminding us of the remarkable talent of William Michael Harnett and the enduring legacy of trompe-l’oeil art. The “”Philadelphia Public Ledger”” continues to inspire awe and appreciation for its technical prowess and its thoughtful exploration of the relationship between art, reality, and the world of journalism.

Original size:
75 x 50 cm (width x height)
Art style:
Minimal order width:
50 cm
Maximum order width:
183 cm

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