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The Piano Tuner - by Normal Rockwell

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

“The Piano Tuner” by Norman Rockwell

One of my favorite pieces, The Piano Tuner was painted in 1947. It shows a young boy entranced by an elderly piano tuner. Rockwell employed an eight-year-old boy (Andrew Brinkerhoff Smith) to pose for the painting for which he received $5. However, on New Year’s Eve 1947 Rockwell presented the painting to Smith’s parents as a gift. Today's estimated sales value - $3,000,000 to $5,000,000.

The model used for the piano tuner was George Zimmer, who was regularly featured in Rockwell’s illustrations for The Post.

Rockwell was a stickler for accuracy in all his work, and to ensure this painting was correct, he called in a professional piano tuner for expert advice. Close examination of the image shows that the tuner is spanning with thumb and third finger. To the uninitiated this looks wrong, but it is a technique employed by some tuners to prevent stress on the weaker little finger. When it comes to pianos, always get in a professional piano tuner (Me!)

I have a canvas print of "The Piano Tuner" hanging in my office.

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