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Catalog Data

Unidentified  Search this
painted wood and plywood, brass chrome, iron, lead, celluloid, metal wire, and photograph
34 3/4 x 10 7/8 x 4 1/4 in. (88.3 x 27.6 x 10.8 cm.)
Folk Art
ca. 1920s-1930s
Luce Center Label:
The unknown artist most likely intended this to be a functioning guitar, but the heavy wood body would have made it difficult to play. Evidence that the artist removed and reattached the frets on the fingerboard suggests that he or she was not an experienced guitar maker. The three heart-shaped sound holes (instead of the usual singular hole in the middle of the body) also mark a departure from traditional guitars. Folk dulcimers (hourglass-shaped stringed instruments played by plucking with the fingers), which were popular from 1920 to1940, sometimes had heart-shaped sound holes and may have inspired the artist to incorporate the shape into this instrument. The lower section on the back of Guitar opens to reveal a compartmented chamber, possibly meant to store strings or picks. Above that, a plastic-covered window displays a black-and-white photograph of an unidentified man standing in front of the George Washington Bridge in New York City.
Object\musical instrument\guitar  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson
Object number:
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Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Painting and Sculpture
On View:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 25A
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum