William Michael Harnett was born in Ireland in 1848. He emigrated to America with his family as a child. He was best known for painting groups of objects in dark tones and with precise detail. Most of his paintings include objects related to writing, reading, drinking, smoking, hunting and/or music. Harnett’s realistic style is an example of trompe l’oeil painting. Trompe l’oeil means “trick the eye” in French. Trompe l’oeil paintings create the illusion of real objects. Music was a theme in Harnett’s work. Many of his paintings include sheet music and instruments.