This Is A Stunning Instrument In The Lavish Neoclassical Style From The “Golden Age” Of The American Piano Industry.
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The Louis XV style is one of the most beautiful classic furniture styles ever produced. The style evolved during the reign of King Louis XV of France during the early 18th Century. Once considered a sign of wealth and extravagance, the Louis XV style has evolved into one of the most elegant and beautiful styles ever produced.
The Louis XV style is simply timeless, and it is as popular today as popular today as it was centuries ago. Still today, the Louis XV style is generally found on only the finest and most expensive furniture. Because of the immense amount of skill, time and labor involved in wood turning, bending and carving, it stands to reason that only the finest pianos would be made in the Louis XV style.
Not unlike 18th Century France, Turn-Of-The-Century America was a period of lavish lifestyles, excessive luxury and great prosperity. Several piano manufacturers specialized in creating custom, one-of-a-kind pianos on special order for wealthier clients in order to match their home’s décor – often in historical or period furniture styles. In the early 20th Century, it was not uncommon for a wealthy client to visit the prominent Knabe Piano Factory, choose the instrument they preferred among all others, then have the factory commission a specialized cabinet maker and artist to design and build a custom cabinet around the instrument they chose.
This piano would have been picked out among many for its fine tone quality, and then a small fortune spent to have the cabinet custom made to suit the client’s décor! This beautiful Knabe grand was built in 1926 and is one of the most intricately decorated pianos we have in our collection.
The piano is hand-painted in the Neoclassical style and is adorned with angels, cherubs and nude maidens bathing and frolicking along the water’s edge. The painted scenery is framed in beautiful gold-leaf gilded trim. The highly carved Louis XV style cabinet is exquisitely executed in superb detail with a lovely antique and aged patina. The lavish painted scenery and incredibly carved detail come together to give the instrument has an overall formal and elegant appearance. This piano has been restored to like-new condition. The overall tone and touch of this piano is superb. Not only is this instrument visually stunning, it is a top quality musical instrument which would satisfy any accomplished musician.
Notes from the Artist:
Set against the idyllic backdrop of Arcadia, a cycle of classical vignettes encompasses the case of the Knabe piano; amorous nymphs, ardent satyrs and playful cherubs elaborate on the theme of bacchanalia by engaging in flirtation, revelry and mischief.
In Greco-Roman mythology, Arcadia is the mythologized Eden, where humans supposedly lived in leisurely harmony with nature, leading simple, unsophisticated lives in idyllic paradise. Arcadia is also the home of the mischievous Pan, God of the wooded glens, groves, rustic music and the companion of nymphs.
Pan is identifiable in this piano by his pipes and the saturnine hindquarters, legs and horns. The God of infatuation, Cupid is also present at his most puckish, depicted as the blind-folded archer, firing golden arrows which impose love on its victim.
It is this Bacchic idea that informs the Rococo theme of the fête champêtre, a popular form of entertainment and new subject of painting in the 18th century among the French court at Versailles. Taking the form of a garden party or pastoral festival as exemplified by the mural painted on the inside lid of the Midsummer Knabe, featured figures in ball dress or masquerade costumes disport themselves amorously in the lush parkland settings. This form of entertainment was particularly popular at the French court where at Versailles areas of the park were landscaped with follies, pavilions and temples to accommodate such festivities and sometimes to be so involved as to include whole orchestras hidden amongst the trees.
The rondel on the midsummer Knabe’s lid features the muse of love poetry, Erato, accompanied by putti, books of poetry and musical instruments underlying the overarching theme of this piano: the role of both music and nature in cupidity, courtship and love.