Unique, Pleyel grand piano hand-painted in Berainesque style. Signed by Georges Meunier
Jeremy Russell plays Satie - Gymnopedie No.1 on a Pleyel grand piano
A unique, 1893, Pleyel grand piano hand-painted in Berainesque style. Signed by G. Meunier. Piano has an eighty-five note keyboard and a two-pedal piano lyre. Berainesque style
Jean I Berain was a key figure in developing the decorative French Court Style under Louis XIV. His decorative designs were highly influential providing templates from which other craftsmen and artists worked. His arabesque and grotesque ornament combine fantastic iconography and exoticism signalling a transition from the grandiose and heavy Baroque to lighter more florid Rococo style. Although related to the Renaissance Grotteschi, his figures lost the more muscular and sinister qualities inherited from 16th century designs.
The piano cabinet features fragile architectural constructions framing central statues of Pan or nudes. Colourfully attired figures such as animal tamers, dancers characters from the Commedia dell Arte also feature. Typical motifs of mythical creatures, birds, flowers, swags, scrolls, acanthus and crested composers names also adorn the cabinet. Berain's Singerie (monkeys) feature here and are illustratrative of a new design element to become highly fashionable during the Rococo period.
There are numerous carved features; the piano cheeks are carved with fish whilst a lion's head appears on the lid lock. The lid also has a carved bevelled edge in a foliage design. The piano case sits on ornately carved french walnut frame, carved with foliage and flowers. Piano has six cabriole legs with scroll feet. Instrument has been restored. Cabinet is signed by G. Meunier.
Georges Meunier (1869 - 1942) was an eminent french poster artist. He worked under Cheret at the Chaix print house in Paris where he produced more than 50 original posters advertising products and parisian events. His works are now considered iconic and reflect a golden era of french poster art.
Meunier was born in Saint-Cloud, France in 1869. As a young man he moved to Paris and studied at the National School of Fine Arts and studied under Joseph-Robert Fleury. Later he attended The School for the Decorative Arts where he trained in both classical and modern design.
Meunier started work at the Chaix print house in 1894 working under Cheret, the founder of the advertising poster movement. He drew his posters directly onto lithographic plates. He stayed until 1898. During his time there he designed 44 to 56 dated posters. Meunier became well known in Paris, his posters were exhibited in salons across the city.
His works including the memorable "Banania" and "Job Cigarette Papers" posters are now considered iconic and reflect a golden era of french poster art. According to Pleyel company records this piano left the workshop in August 1893 and was sent to 46 Rue Rivoli, Paris. Pleyel Ignaz Pleyel originally a publisher of music, began building pianos in 1807. Notoriously Pleyel pianos were played by Chopin.
Front Cover of "L'Assiette au Beurre", No 58, 10 May 1902
RESTORED: Tuned, Cleaned, Regulated. All strings replaced. Soundboard repaired where necessary. Frame coated. All hammer heads renewed. New dampers and leathers replaced where necessary. Keys Tops cleaned or replaced. Case stripped and repolished to an excellent standard.
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