Source picture for Progressive Piano

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Fifties, Jazz

A very attentive record collector and seller on eBay made a great discovery last week. The cover picture on the LP Jan August Plays Songs To Remember is without a shred of a doubt the source picture for the drawing Andy Warhol made for the Progressive Piano album.

According to Discogs and other sources, the Jan August album was released in 1955. So that leads to speculation about the period the Progressive Piano drawing was made. Because if Warhol did use this exact album cover of Jan August as a source, this would mean that the Progressive Piano album was scheduled in 1955 or later.

The cover picture is credited to Russ Coventry. Not that much can be found about Coventry online: some letters by Russ Coventry Advertising Art in Chicago. Mercury Records was also a Chicago based label.

Is it possible Coventry’s picture was also used elsewhere and earlier? Fact is that the Vladimir Horowitz album with Warhol cover art was already released in 1953. So both drawings of hands and piano keys, though similar, may not be from the same period.

xx jan august 1

Album cover Jan August Plays Songs To Remember. On the copy I bought the name of the photographer was cut off. A copy for sale on eBay shows the name Russ Coventry at the right. (Picture below)

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Cover drawing for Progressive Piano, as shown in the Warhol record covers catalogue raisonné by Paul Maréchal.

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An alternative drawing for Progressive Piano is an exact copy of the picture, with piano keys, jacket and shirt sleeves, and cufflinks. Collection of The Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh.

xx jan august 2

Back cover with a picture of pianist Jan August.

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