William Michael Harnett (William Michael Harnett, August 10, 1848, Clonakilty, Ireland – 29 Oct 1892, new York, USA) – American artist known for his still lifes, paintings-l'oeil (trompe l'oeil). Harnett was born in Ireland, but soon after his birth the family emigrated to the U.S. and settled in Philadelphia. In his youth, the artist made a living doing applying engravings on silverware, at the same time attending night courses at the Pennsylvania Academy of the fine arts. A few years Harnett lived in Europe, particularly in Munich, where he wrote the most famous of his paintings. In the last years of his life he suffered from rheumatism, which influenced the quantity but not the quality of his work.
Features of the artist William Harnett: despite the unquestioned talent and skill of the artist, his work has long been exhibited in museums, because it does not meet the then standards of high art. Harnett paintings sold well, but to meet them it was possible only in taverns or offices. In his works, the artist gave preference to things which at the time was not perceived as a plot of his paintings: he wrote musical instruments, used books, beer mugs and weapons. One of the most unusual of his paintings depicted rusty horseshoenailed to the Board.