Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Grand Piano

Joseph Böhm (1786–ca.1850)
ca. 1815–20
Vienna, Austria
Wood, various materials
L. 223.4 cm (88 in.); W. 126.4 cm (49 3/4 in.); Diam. 32 cm (12 1/2 in.); H. 93.7 cm (37 in.); 3-octave span 47.7 cm (18 3/4 in.); Sounding L. (1) f4, 5.5 striking, .5 cm; (2) c2, 27 striking, 3.2 cm; FF,173.2 striking, 16.6 cm
Credit Line:
Purchase, Rogers Fund; Mr. and Mrs. Thatcher M. Brown III, Mr. and Mrs. Philip J. Hess, Carroll Music Instrument Service Corp., The New York Flute Club Inc. and Piano Technicians Guild Gifts; Gifts of Mrs. Etta M. Helmer, Alice Getty, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wellman, Mr. and Mrs. Peter M. F. Sichel, Craig E. Steese, Hilda Katz, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur A. Travis, and The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, by exchange; and funds from various donors, 1982
Accession Number:
Not on view
Napoleon's second wife, Marie Louise, is believed to have owned this grand piano while she was grand duchess of Parma. The exotic elm veneer is enriched by mercury-gilt mounts depicting grapevines, acanthus, and Psyche at a tripod brazier; imperial eagles crown the legs and nameplate. The original griffin-shaped pedal support was lost during World War II. The instrument has a six octave range (seventy-three keys), the size that was customary at the time, around when Beethoven was composing his late piano works. Joseph Böhm, the builder of this sumptuous piano, was a member of Vienna's civic keyboard-maker's association.
Marking: on plaque: Joseph Bohm/a Vienne; illegible block-printed label on pinblock, right
Martin Souter in Beethoven Sonatas. CD. Recording., Classical Communications. 2000.

Makers of the Piano, 1700-1820. Oxford University Press. Oxford, UK, 1993, pg. 27-28.

"Keyboard Instruments." Summer. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1989), Vol. 47, No. 1, pg. 39, ill.

Keynotes: Two Centuries of Piano Design. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pg. 18-19, fig. 12, ill.

"Notable Acquisitions 1982-1983: Musical Instruments." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1983), pg. 44, ill.

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