One of the most anticipated Steinways in history, “Pictures at an Exhibition” was conceived and hand painted by Steinway Artist and world-renowned visual artist Paul Wyse. This new art case Steinway & Sons Model D concert grand piano unites Modest Mussorgsky’s immortal work for solo piano with classical painting, Russian history, and meticulous Steinway craftsmanship in a historic first.
Journey through imagination
In 2012, pianist and portrait artist Paul Wyse proposed a Steinway based on the masterwork Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky. It was to be the first Steinway & Sons art case piano inspired by a musical composition. It depicts a dynamic journey through the artistic imaginations of Mussorgsky and his friend, Viktor Hartmann, who died in 1874 at the age of 39. Mussorgsky and others put together an exhibition of Hartmann’s works to honor the late artist, and Mussorgsky was later inspired to write his famous masterwork, which is a musical promenade through an art museum.
The “Pictures at an Exhibition” instrument is a “capriccio” — an imaginary landscape or imaginary place. Wyse borrowed the idea from the Dutch masters of the 1600s, who combined elements of many physical places to create one location. The Steinway features paintings of immortal images from Russian history and folklore: landscape, Baba Yaga’s clock hut, the Great Gate of Kiev, and many more.
“So much of Russian history incorporates fairy tale and legend... this piano is not about trying to nail down a particular time frame. It’s about bringing a great deal of mystery, history and legend to life in a piano that serves almost as… as a cathedral, if you will.”
The instrument is a majestic nine-foot Steinway Model D built to time-honored standards and the most exacting musical specifications. It is an unprecedented artistic triumph blending music, design, history, narrative storytelling, mythology, psychology, and visual art.
About Paul Wyse
Paul Wyse’s concert appearances have spanned the United States, Canada, Central America, Europe, and New Zealand. He has collaborated in performance with such greats as Leon Fleisher, Vladimir Feltsman, Carter Brey, and José-Luiz Garcia. He holds degrees from the New England Conservatory and the Peabody Institute and has been a Steinway Artist since 2005. One of North America’s finest portrait painters, he has important works hanging in major collections including the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute (Washington, D.C.), the Steinway Hall historical portrait collection, and the House of Commons of Canada, where he is the only artist in Canadian history to be commissioned to paint all three parliamentary leaders, the Prime Minister, and both the Speakers of the House and Senate. A prize winner in many competitions, he was the recipient of the Best Portrait Award in The Portrait Society of Canada’s national competition, and the Honor Award in the 2012 Portrait Society of America’s International Portrait Competition.
To learn more visit https://www.paulwyse.com/