In his still lifes, William M. Harnett rendered musical instruments, musical scores, and old newspapers with such reality that viewers were tempted to touch them. His style was known as "illusionist still lifes," or trompe l'oeil. One of his favorite themes was a well-worn, soiled, wrinkled piece of currency. He went to Europe in 1880 and remained there for six years. His later work is believed to reflect the work of J.L.E. Meissonier.