George Cope (1855–1929)
George Cope was a Realist painter who devoted his talent to producing trompe l’oeil still lifes during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Cope studied under Hermann Herzog in Philadelphia, but his subsequent still lifes bare the influence of William Harnett, the leader of the American trompe l’oeil movement. Inspired by the Dutch still-life tradition, trompe l’oeil paintings were designed to fool the eye, making painted objects appear as real things. Cope found success in the genre and attracted the patronage of Philadelphia’s wealthy collectors. His work can now be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Butler Institute of American Art, and the Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art.