"Giso 404" Piano Lamp

Designer: Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud (Dutch, Purmerend 1890–1963 Wassenaar)

Manufacturer: W. H. Gispen

Date: ca. 1928

Medium: Lacquered patinated brass

Dimensions: 4 1/2 x 7 3/4 x 11 3/4 in. (11.4 x 19.7 x 29.8 cm)

Classification: Lighting

Credit Line: Purchase, Charina Foundation Inc. Gift, 2002

Accession Number: 2002.16


In 1927, the Dutch architect J. J. P. Oud designed a piano lamp as a wedding gift for a friend, which was subsequently put into production and given the name Giso 404. Oud, who together with Gerrit Rietveld and Theo van Doesburg was a prominent member of the avant-garde De Stijl movement, here abandoned any suggestion of a conventional design. Intended to sit on the top of an upright piano, his lamp is boldly cantilevered beyond it to illuminate the keyboard and sheet music. The weight of the cylinder floating in space, which houses the long light bulb, is dynamically balanced by a solid metal sphere. Effectively an abstract sculpture, its geometric form strongly suggests the influence of the Bauhaus, to which Oud had close ties.