The Camouflaged Piano or French Roundels, 1965-1966
oil on plywood with hotel sign with incandescent lights
249.7 x 372.1 x 29 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 14975)
© Estate of Greg Curnoe / SODRAC (2013)
Greg Curnoe’s passion for text, colour, music and aviation, including its military uses, are here all captured in stamped words, painted images and found objects. Undulating bands of colour reflect the raucous rhythms of the band while the stamped words identify musicians, musical instruments, aviators and struggles for national liberation. The electrical sign came from the old Richmond Hotel in London, Ontario, but the principal image is the British R34, the first dirigible to cross the Atlantic non-stop, painted with distinctive tri-colour French aircraft insignia, or French roundels. The R34 was the subject of a mural Curnoe painted for Montreal’s international airport and now in the National Gallery Canada.