We are pleased to offer this very rare Gaveau baby grand in a graceful two toned mahogany and maple cabinet in the most sophisticated 30's French high style. Gaveau of Paris made some of the finest art deco art-case pianos in the 1920s and 30s. This exceptional example is in extremely fine original condition, having never been rebuilt or refinished, and appears nearly new in many respects. The original strings are in excellent condition as is the action with all original components. The original soundboard is flawless with no cracks, and the piano plays beautifully with a very responsive action and a typical French tone which is delicate yet powerful, belying the piano’s compact size. The cabinet with its exotic woods still presents its original 1931 finish which has just been professionally French polished and has a beauty and depth not seen in refinished examples. The original ivory keys survive in perfect condition. (continued)
The piano is still in the ownership of its original family and its history is equally remarkable. It was purchased new in Paris in 1931 by the Litton family and delivered to their apartment on rue Cognacq-Jay near the pont de l’Alma, where it joined a large collection of the most fashionable Art Deco furniture. The Littons left France for New York in 1939 and settled in a large apartment on the Upper West Side, bringing the furniture and piano along. The Littons were part of a circle of European artists and intellectuals and hosted parties where the elegant Gaveau was played by the likes of Nadia Reisenberg and Arthur Rubenstein. Their son George Litton who was in his teens at the time remembers these parties fondly. After his father’s passing in the 1950s, George's mother moved to a smaller apartment and sold most of the Art Deco pieces but loved the piano and kept it with her. (continued)
Rue Cognacq-Jay in Paris, the piano's original home
The next fascinating chapter of the piano’s story began in the mid 1960s when George Litton started his family and the piano was played by his son Andrew, a very promising young musician. Andrew’s hard work at the piano produced excellent rewards as he is today one of the most highly regarded conductors and pianists of his generation, currently holding the positions of Music Director of Norway’s Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest, Conductor Laureate of Britain’s Bournemouth Symphony, and Music Director of the Colorado Symphony. He guest conducts the world’s leading orchestras and opera companies and has a discography of over 120 recordings with awards including America’s Grammy, France’s Diapason d’Or, and many British and other honors. Interested parties can read mor about Andrew Litton here and we will be happy to include with the piano a copy of his new solo piano CD A tribute to Oscar Peterson. (continued)
Maestro Andrew Litton
The Maestro at the Gaveau ca. 1968
The design of this piano is attributed to Dominique, one of the premier Art Deco design houses in Paris, and a piano of similar design is pictured in photos from the French luxury liner Normandie.
Dominque was founded by Andre Domin (1883 - 1962) and Marcel Genevriere (1885 - 1976). Their furniture design was characterized by simplicity and dignity. One of Dominique's first commissions was to provide furniture for the home of silver designer Jean Puiforcat in Biarritz. This was followed by a commission to do the establishment of the perfumer Houbigant in Neuilly. Beginning in 1926 Dominique exhibited with Chareau, Legrain, Puiforcat and Raymond Templier as the "Groupe des Cinq". They also exhibited at the Exposition Colonial in Paris in 1931 and created a "Salon de Musique" for the 1937 Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques also in Paris.
This is a rare opportunity to acquire a remarkable instrument of extreme beauty and historical significance. Length 4ft. 6in. Serial number 89901.