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William Michael Harnett (1848—1892)


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Richard La Barre Goodwin


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Painter. A trompe-l'oeil still life specialist, he favored large arrangements of hanging game, usually displayed against a rustic support. An undated Cabin Door Still Life (Smithsonian American Art Museum) exemplifies a type he repeated in many variants. In this clear and harmonious composition, several birds accompany a fringed game bag and powder horn against a paneled door. Born in Albany, the son of portrait painter Edwin Weyburn Goodwin (1800–45), he was wounded as a young man in the Civil War. Subsequently he painted portraits in western New York State before turning to still life while living in Syracuse in the mid-1880s. Dating to 1889, the earliest of his characteristic game paintings was inspired by William Harnett's After the Hunt (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1885), which had been on display in New York since 1886. Goodwin resided in Washington, D.C., from 1890 to 1893 and then in Chicago for seven years. He was in Colorado Springs from 1900 to 1902 and later worked in several locations on the West Coast, including San Francisco, where he lost recent paintings in the earthquake and fire of 1906. In addition to his many game compositions, Goodwin produced refined tabletop arrangements of fruit, as well as kitchen paintings that show foodstuffs in combination with utensils and furnishings. He died in Orange, New Jersey, near Newark.

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