John Frederick Peto: Discarded Treasures (c. 1904)
At some point, someone added the forged signature “W M”—for the popular trompe l’oeil painter William Harnett (1848-1892)—to this painting by John Frederic Peto. In the 1940’s, however, it was observed that paintings attributed to Harnett had two distinct styles: a finely-delineated style for luxury items and a softer style for everyday items as in “Discarded Treasures.” After Peto died, many of the objects depicted in “Harnett’s” paintings were discovered in his home. Curators took another look, discovering traces of Peto’s signature beneath the Harnett monogram in many paintings—and were thus able to reattribute the works.
Ten cents in 1904 would be equal to about $2.60 today.