An Obituary Played on 88 Keys

(Might a Whimsical Photo-Suggestion be Made, Regarding the Internment?)

John Diebboll, an architect who discovered a second career as an artist when he began designing fantasy pianos that resembled the Brooklyn Bridge, a diner or a Murphy bed, died on Nov. 23 at his home in Beacon, N.Y. He was 54.

“Etude No. 12 (Guggenheim)” called for a grand piano with an exterior modeled on the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. “Etude No. 32 (Sail)” redesigned the piano lid as a red-and-white-striped sail, while “Etude No. 30 (Murphy)” showed a grand piano that could be flipped upward and concealed in a piano-shaped recess in an apartment wall.

Over the years, Mr. Diebboll produced hundreds of drawings and prints. None of his designs were actually built, but his artwork was exhibited in galleries and museums and published in “The Art of the Piano” (David R. Godine, 2000).

“We’re crossing the fine line between what is a musical instrument and what is a work of art,” Mr. Diebboll told The Baltimore Sun in 1997. “To me these are musical instruments that are meant to be played.”

As sad as it is to hear of Mr Diebboll’s untimely passing, No, we never did cross “the fine line between what is a musical instrument and what is a work of art.” The fine line between whimsical illustration and artistic pretension, Yes, certainly, that line was crossed some time ago.


About dilaceratus

Encaustic Artist
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