Skip to Content
Closed today, next open Thursday. Closed today, next open Thursday.

Just Dessert

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of oil on canvas.




William Michael Harnett
American, born Ireland, 1848–1892

About this artwork

One of only three works William Michael Harnett painted in the year before his death, Just Dessert offers the viewer a display of foodstuffs sumptuously arranged on a marble surface. The traditional tabletop composition is one that Harnett often employed in his still lifes. In Just Dessert, the exotic clashes with the quotidian—Maraschino liqueur, half a coconut, and Smyrna figs rest alongside a copper
pitcher, pewter tankard, and ginger jar. Small crumbs of cork are visible on the grapes and fig seeds are smashed on the side of the wooden box, indicating that the dessert has been eaten, as well as highlighting Harnett’s skillful renderings in trompe l’oeil (fool-the-eye) painting.


On View, Gallery 173


Arts of the Americas


William Michael Harnett


Just Dessert


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


Signed, lower right: "Harnett / 1891"


56.6 × 68 cm (22 1/4 × 26 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Friends of American Art Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions