Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Grand Piano

Maker:
Ferdinand Hofmann (Austrian, 1756–1829 Vienna)
Date:
ca. 1790
Geography:
Vienna, Austria
Culture:
Austrian
Medium:
Cherry wood, brass, enamel, ebony, bone
Dimensions:
Width: 37 1/2 in. (95.3 cm) Depth: 82 7/8 in. (210.5 cm)
Classification:
Chordophone-Zither-struck-piano
Credit Line:
Gift of Geraldine C. Herzfeld, in memory of her husband, Monroe Eliot Hemmerdinger, 1984
Accession Number:
1984.34
Not on view
This beautifully preserved cherry-wood piano, which retains the maker's fragile wax seal on a label inside, was built by Ferdinand Hofmann, a leading member of Vienna's civic keyboard-maker's association. He became its president in 1806 and won a court appointment. The striking, almost architectural decor of this instrument typifies the maker's early work. Knee levers lift the dampers and a knob over the nameplate operates a mute, or moderator. The instrument has a five-octave range (sixty-one notes) and is double-strung in the bass and middle registers and triple-strung in the treble. The piano is of the type that was customary in Mozart’s day.
Marking: : 1] (stamped on nameplaque): FERDINAND HOFMAN (N)/CLAVIER INSTRUMENT=MACHER/IN WIEN; FERDINAND HOFMANN/BURGERL.

2] (on paper label on soundboard): ORGEL=ND/INSTRUMENTMA;/CHER IN WIEN; red wax FH monogram seal.

3] (in pencil on front of pinblock, back of nameboard, and tops of 2 key levers): No. 10.
Geraldine C. Hemmerdinger
Makers of the Piano, 1700-1820. Oxford University Press. Oxford, UK, 1993, pg. 150.

"Keyboard Instruments." Summer. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1989), Vol. 47, No. 1, pg. 37, ill.

Keynotes: Two Centuries of Piano Design. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pg. 17, fig. 11.

"Notable Acquisitions 1983-1984: Musical Instruments." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1984), pg. 81, ill.



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