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Ferruccio Busoni at the Piano, 1916

Leopold Museum,
Drypoint etching on japanese paper
38.5×35.9 cm


  • Max Oppenheimer

    (Vienna 1885–1954 New York)

Unfortunately not on display at the moment
Like Max Oppenheimer (1885–1954), the progressive composer Ferruccio Busoni (1866–1924) was also in exile in Switzerland during World War I. It was there that the two artists met and the first portrait of the musician was created. Oppenheimer’s painting shows Busoni seated at the piano and focused on playing, surrounded by numerous sheets of music and a violin. The Cubist references in the composition combined with elements of the Futuristic stylistic idiom can be seen as an attempt to capture the sound of the piano on canvas, thus making painted music audible. The work received the Austrian State Prize for Painting in 1925 and since 1926 it has been part of the collection of the National Gallery of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, to which Oppenheimer sold it. The etching was also created in 1916 and shows Busoni in the same pose as on the painting.

Object data

  • Max Oppenheimer
Ferruccio Busoni at the Piano
Art movement
Graphic work
Drypoint etching on japanese paper
38.5×35.9 cm
Signed lower right: MOPP; signed lower center: Ferruccio Busoni; numbered lower left: 8/25
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 6597
Inventory access
Accession 2021
Selection of Reference works
  • Max Oppenheimer. Expressionist der ersten Stunde, hrsg. von Hans-Peter Wipplinger, Wien 2023 (Ausst.-Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, 06.10.2023 –25.02.2024).
  • Wien 1900. Aufbruch in die Moderne, hrsg. von Hans-Peter Wipplinger, Wien 2019 (Ausst.-Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, ab 15.03.2019).
  • Michael Pabst: Max Oppenheimer. Verzeichnis der Druckgrafik, München 1993.
Catalogue raisonne
  • Pabst 1993: 37

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Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

Auktion: 07.10.2021, Dorotheum Wien, Druckgrafik und Editionen, Los Nr. 40;
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (seit 2021); (1)

  1. Online Katalog des Dorotheums: (abgerufen. 21.11.2023); Archiv des Leopold Museums, Rechnung vom 07.10.2021

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