He was born in Ireland and afterward, as a youngster, was moved to Philadelphia. Harnett started his vocation as an etcher after studying at both the Pennsylvania Academy and in New York. The most famous late nineteenth-century painter of still lives. His most punctual works present typical articles: papers, lines, books, and mugs. They are masterminded in space, thus deliberately separated in the surface that the watcher has the practically overpowering drive to connect and contact them to verify that the real article isn't stuck to the material. However, this authenticity charmed his counterparts, however, exhausted the pundits who believed such works excessively ordinary to be craftsmanship. Harnett traveled to another country in 1878, painting and exhibiting in London and Paris and afterward spending four years in Munich.
He changed his topic to a relatively wealthy and developed arrangement of items adding old-fashioned metal and ceramics, firearms, and instruments. Harnett, at that point, got back to New York to settle down paint lives. After his demise, Harnett passed into lack of clarity for a period. However, interest in his work has continued in present-day times because of its surface likeness to Surrealism and its plans that hint comprehensively at Cubism.