Lot 10
  • 10

John Haberle 1856-1933

200,000 - 300,000 USD
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  • John Haberle
  • Confederate Note
  • signed with the artist's monogrammed signature JHaberle and dated New Haven. CT. 1886-87, u.r.
  • oil on canvas
  • unframed: 8 3/4 by 12 in.
  • (22.2 by 30.5 cm)


Private Collection, Connecticut, circa 1920s
By descent in the family
Acquired by the present owner from the above, circa 1990

Catalogue Note

Confederate Note is one of the earliest, and possibly the first of John Haberle’s trompe l’oeil images of paper currency.  Painted in 1886-87, the painting depicts a tattered one dollar Confederate bill, coin and stamps; the coin is dated 1864, the last year the currency was produced.  The first known images of money in American art were painted by William Harnett in 1877.  By 1886, over growing concerns of counterfeit currency (which accounted for nearly half of the United States circulation during the mid 19th century), Harnett’s  illusionist images of bills were subject to great scrutiny and two were seized by the Secret Service as violations of the law against counterfeiting.  Bruce W. Chambers writes, “Counterfeiting was an even more pivotal concern for John Haberle, Harnett’s immediate successor in the field of trompe l’oeil money painting and its most remarkable illusionist.  Haberle, a New Haven, Connecticut artist who had received his only formal artistic training at the National Academy of Design between 1884 and 1885, began painting money at about the time of and probably in response to the publicity over Harnett’s ‘arrest.’  In 1887, he exhibited his first dated money painting, Imitation (sold at Sotheby’s, New York, May 28, 1987) at the National Academy of Design, where it was admired by none other than Harnett, who ‘said that he had never seen such reproduction anywhere.’” (Old Money: American Trompe L’oeil Images of Currency, New York, 1988, p. 24).