Peter Tchaikovsky’s portrait is based on famous photograph, circa 1880 (see References below), to which Goode has added a Russian village scene and a decorative Russian folk art border. The story for Concerto in B Flat Minor for piano recounts how Tchaikovsky based the first theme of his concerto on a folk song he heard sung by a blind beggar in a Russian village marketplace. Tchaikovsky had hoped to have his close friend, the pianist Nikolai Rubinstein, debut the piece, but Rubinstein dismissed it with harsh criticism, though he eventually came around to appreciate and perform it. Though the dialogue by Goode is invented, the basic facts are derived from an account written by Tchaikovsky.
Franz Schubert’s portrait is based on a famous painting by Wilhelm August Rieder, now in the Wien Museum in Vienna, Austria (see References below). The story, which is accepted by scholars as having actually occurred, concerns his Serenade — officially known as Ständchen (D291) — a poem by Franz Grillparzer he set to music at the urging of his friends, the four Frohlich sisters, whose portraits Goode has placed in the background. His friends valued the result more highly than Schubert did until they convinced him go to a public performance of it they had arranged, to which he responded, “I didn’t know it was so beautiful.”
Ludwig von Beethoven’s portrait is probably based one of many widely-circulated 19th century lithographs by Carl Fischer and Theodor Neu, after a portrait drawn from life in 1818 by August von Kloeber. Von Kloeber supervised the creation of the lithographs, which in turn were copied by numerous 19th-century artists. Goode appears to have invented the rest of the body and made the facial expression more brooding, to go with the melodramatic story below it. The story concerns how Beethoven composed the famous Sonata No. 14, better known as the Moonlight Sonata, to express his passionate longing to the Countess Giullietta Guiccardi. According to this account, the night he performed it for her, another of her admirers, Count Gallenburg, entered the room and when Beethoven looked up from his piano he realized the two of them were in love, and “he stumbled up from the piano and out of the house never to return,” leaving his music on the piano. The anecdote is an apocryphal rendering of what little is known about Beethoven and Guiccardi’s relationship; the teenage countess was his pupil and he wrote to a friend that she was “a dear charming girl who loves me and whom I love,” though nothing more did come of their relationship, likely because of differences in their social class. Two years after Beethoven composed the piece and dedicated it to her, she subsequently married Gallenburg.
Henry Goode was born in Hungary and studied art in Paris before emigrating to the United States. In 2004, his granddaughter recalled that he was a cosmopolitan man, speaking “about five languages.” According to her account, he lived for a time in New York, where he worked as a dress designer. He settled in Los Angeles in 1922. Goode also worked as a musician, playing the cello in an orchestra at 20th Century Fox, and working for Tom Mix during the silent movie era. As an artist he is best known for his paintings of California landscapes and desert scenes.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, handling, wear. Some slightly greater wear, light brown discoloration (possibly from former matting) and small chips at outer edges, all unobtrusive.
“August von Kloever, Ludwig van Beethoven.” Beethoven-Haus Bonn Digital Archives. http://www.beethoven-haus-bonn.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=15351&template=dokseite_digitales_archiv_en&_eid=1511&_ug=Half%20length%20portraits& _mid=Pictures%20and%20objects&_eid=1511&_dokid=i1469&_eid=1511&_seite=4 (27 June 2011).
“Franz Schubert by Wilhelm August Rieder 1875.” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Franz_Schubert_by_Wilhelm_August_Rieder_1875.jpg (27 June 2011).
“Henry Goode.” AskArt.com. 2000-2011. http://www.askart.com/askart/artist.aspx?artist=126402 (24 June 2011).
Howarth, Arnold. “Annual Review of Schubert’s Life, 1828.” The Schubert Institute (UK). 2002. http://www.franzschubert.org.uk/life/annl28.html (16 June 2011).
Lockwood, Lewis. Beethoven: The Music and the Life. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2005. p. 115.
“Piano Concerto No. 1 (Tchaikovsky).” Wikipedia. 1 June 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_Concerto_No._1_(Tchaikovsky) (16 June 2011).
“Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.” Fotolibra. 2005-2011. http://www.fotolibra.com/gallery/701925/pyotr-ilyich-tchaikovsky/ (27 June 2011).