Piano Duet


Completed: October 30, 2013
Image size: 20″ x 22″
Edition Size: 50 Prints
Paper: Somerset Enhanced 330 GSM
Archival 100% Cotton-Rag Paper
Media: Giclee Fine Art Print 


Artist Notes:

I first created PIANO DUET in 1989 as a sgraffito painting. The process of sgraffito uses layers of color wax crayon that are then scratched into with a sharp implement to reveal a myriad of underlying colors.

Set under a crescent moon and starry sky, the scene shows friends and family, who have gathered together. They sit among a menagerie of animals, on an ornate carpet of vibrant patterns and colors that surround them. They sit in calm harmony with themselves, and with each other, set apart from the extraneous happenings and distractions of their lives. They are held in rapt attention to hear the creation of, and to be given the gift of music. The two pianists might be playing something arranged for four hands. It could be something by Schumann, Brahms, Gershwin, or just something arranged by themselves. The musicians are giving the gift of their talent to those around them to change our world into something beautiful through the music they make together.

In its purest form, a gift, is something we do not receive by our own efforts, and we cannot acquire through an act of our own will. It is given to us through acts of kindness by others.

A four-handed piano?
I dream of much more:
music for a million hands,
harmony with the whole world joining in.

-Dom Helder Camara, A Thousand Reasons for Living (1961)

PIANO DUET- Image History

John August Swanson directed the digital changes made to his original 1989 sgrafitto painting, heightening the colors and adding detail for the 2013 giclee edition.




Sketches for












1989, Sgraffito


2013, Giclee

Additional information

Weight 3 lbs
Dimensions 36 × 7 × 7 in