This work is a simplified repetition of a picture Chalfant had painted the previous year, "The Old Violin" (Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington), which itself depended on William Michael Harnett’s more complex painting of the same title (1886; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.). Here, Chalfant focused only on the fiddle, a popular nineteenth-century instrument, hanging with its bow against a background of silvery paneled wood. Chalfant’s precision and exactitude, as well as the extreme austerity of the composition and palette, give his trompe-l’oeil (“deceive the eye”) effects astonishing conviction and veracity.
Signature: [at lower left]: J.D. CHALFANT. 1889; [on the back]: Violin and Bow. / 1889--J.D. Chalfant
sale, unidentified auction, Boston; with William's Antique Shop, Old Greenwich, Connecticut, 1962; with Galka and Roman, New York, 1962–1963; with Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, 1963–1966