Fritz Kreisler

Fritz Kreisler
Paolo Garretto's witty conflation of violin and violinist in his image of Fritz Kreisler looked uncannily like the famed musician. It was published along with images of Paderewski, Stravinsky, and Toscanini on a Vanity Fair page called "Olympians of the Musical Sphere," a colorful patchwork quilt of geometric faces, all recognizable to even tone-deaf Americans. But the one-eyed, anthropomorphic violin, drawn on a piece of wood veneer and bobbing weightlessly on its brilliant background, also has surrealist overtones, evoking the powerful effects that music could have on the subconscious. Garretto hints at the strong sense of fusion between musician and instrument that performance can summon.

Fritz Kreisler 18751962
Paolo Garretto (19031989)
Collage with wood laminate, airbrushed gouache, and black crayon on illustration board, 1933, for Vanity Fair, March 1934
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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