Vladimir Horowitz

Exhibition Label
Vladimir Horowitz's triumphant return to his native Russia in 1986 took place after nearly sixty years of international success as a pianist. American citizen Horowitz, his wife Wanda, and his $40,000 Steinway piano arrived in Moscow to adoring fans and rioting Russian crowds, all hoping to experience the passion aroused by Horowitz's powerful playing. Time magazine chose this event, a parting of the Iron Curtain in the name of music, for its cover story on May 5, 1986. R. B. Kitaj illustrated Horowitz at his piano. Kitaj had begun working in pastels after admiring an Edgar Degas exhibition in 1974. He felt the medium would help him capture not just the likeness of the sitter but also the personality. The rough surface of Kitaj's pastel, unlike Degas's smoother approach, adds a muscular vitality to his image.

Object Details

Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
R. B. Kitaj, 29 Oct 1932 - 21 Oct 2007
Vladimir Horowitz, 1 Oct 1904 - 5 Nov 1989
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Pastel on paper
Image: 57.1 x 39cm (22 1/2 x 15 3/8")
Frame: 76.5 x 25.7 x 4.4cm (30 1/8 x 10 1/8 x 1 3/4")