Vivienne Koorland

Mute Piano, No. 2 (Dedicated to My Grandfather, Rafael), 2013

Vivienne Koorland (South African, born 1957), Mute Piano, No. 2 (Dedicated to My Grandfather, Rafael), 2013, wood, staples, screws, oil, pigment, and glue, 18 x 21 x 15 in. Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard Business School, 2015.10.

Mute Piano was inspired by a postcard Koorland received from her childhood friend, George Tobias, depicting a tiny wooden piano which was made by a Gulag prisoner. (The piano is now in the collection of the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia.) Both Tobias’s and Koorland’s grandfathers were born in Latvia, and after the Bolshevik Revolution, they were forced to flee to South Africa, where they played together in the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra (now the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra).