Interior with Piano signed and dated 'Ceri Richards/53/54' (lower right), further signed and inscribed 'Interior with Piano Ceri Richards' (on the stretcher) oil on canvas 98 x 80 cm. (38 1/2 x 31 1/2 in.)
PROVENANCE: With Marlborough Fine Art, London Private Collection, Wales
EXHIBITED: Cardiff, Welsh Arts Council, National Museum of Wales, Ceri Richards Memorial Exhibition, 16 June - 8 July 1973; this exhibition travelled to Swansea, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, 14 July - 4 August 1973 and Conway, The Royal Cambrian Academy, 8 - 29 September 1973 New York, according to a label fragment (attached to the backboard)
Ceri Richards often worked thematically - focusing his attentions variously on constructions, sabine rape scenes, Pearly Kings and Queens etc. But it was music and the piano motif that came to dominate his oeuvre.
In 1945, an exhibition of Picasso and Matisse at the Victoria and Albert Museum was to have a profound effect on the artist. Although a devotee of the former, it was the interior scenes of the latter that really inspired him. A plethora of paintings of domestic spaces with a piano and figures, or often just a single pianist followed.
In the present example, an impulse toward Cubist abstraction is evident. The composition is constructed of honeycomb -like blocks of colour forming an indistinguishable background. The keyboard has been dramatically foreshortened and brought up as the central vertical whilst sheet music curves outwards in a flourish. Relating closely to Light, Interior of the same period (see Mel Gooding, Ceri Richards, Cameron & Hollis, Moffat, p.128), this work can be considered one of Richards' most developed and successful explorations of the piano theme.