The Beautiful Bassoon! – Hermann Armin von Kern

by Jesse Read

Hermann Armin von Kern (14 March 1838 – 18 January 1912) was an academic painter, one of the most popular Austrian genre painters of his time who worked at the court of Franz Josef I in Vienna. Being a very good pianist he often made music with his friend, the composer Franz Liszt. He trained in Prague, Vienna and Munich. A very prolific artist, working primarily in oils, Kern specialized in characters, settings, professions, and scenes of local activity.

I don’t know of any other prominent artist who did so many works showing the bassoon.

In all of the paintings, the bassoon is similar, and perhaps he had a good friend who was a bassoonist.  The instrument is of the Viennese flared bell type as shown in the examples below.  Often the bell was made of metal, not unlike a trumpet or horn bell.

Bassoonist caricature
bassoonist caricature 19th C
There is a story here, perhaps it is a reed problem…
Bassoonist with metal bell
Is the bassoonist choosing a reed.  Or is it snuff?
Bassoonist pouring wine
           A refreshment break in the practice session
Viennese bassoon keyword
This is a rather good image showing the accurate keywork on the instrument
Viennese bassoon with beer

Another good image showing accurate keyword (and a fine stein!)

Expensive art bassoonist
Yes, this one sold for nearly 15,000 Euros, app. 20,000 CDN, probably because it is labeled “The Oboe Player”.
Trio with bassoon
The bassoonist is looking at his portrait, just finished and ready to upload to his website.
Viennese bassoonist
He might actually be trimming that one perfect reed for the gig later in the keller.
Violin and bassoon
The clever instrument repairman seems to be busy with many different instruments.
Does the violin repairman also fix bassoons, or does he just play it?  Another very good example of accurate depiction of the keywork.
Viennese bassoonist with horn
Of course it sounds bad, with no bassoon…seems that the bassoonist is taking a break, as he left his music on the stand and his liquid refreshment on his chair.

Thank you for visiting the Bassoon Art Blog! Stay tuned for art by young bassoonists!

Jesse Read

Name the artist!!