Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Glenn Gould: A Modern Inspiration

Glenn Gould, 1950s
I can't get over how incredibly modern Canadian pianist Glenn Gould's style was for a young man living in the fifties. It's little news that throughout his career he was known as an eccentric who wore gloves to protect his hands and donned a scarf and overcoat in the middle of summer. Is it any wonder that he became somewhat of a fashion icon in the mid fifties despite or really in answer to how different he was? His extraordinary appearance made him the focus of Vogue, Glamour and Life editorials.

All the same, I was completely struck by photographs of Gould taken in his twenties that express his very modern and edgy look, a look that embodies sophisticated yet effortless dishevelment--the tousled and unkempt hair, the nonchalant and easy gestures, the loose and rolled up garments, a tinge of the wild romantic. His striking appearance evokes a different era, a newer generation. Looking at the photograph above, Gould could belong to the fashion spreads of the twenty-first century; the contemporary ideal of high fashion seems to have been molded by the virtuoso.  


Film: For a recent and extensive documentary on Gould's life and career, see "Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould." A really absorbing docu-film. Also very interesting to see: "32 Short Films About Glenn Gould."


Is it just me, or does it seem like Ethan Hawke and James Franco have taken some of their style inspiration from Gould? 

art project 2005
I was entranced by Glenn Gould when I saw a colored photograph of the pianist in the Washington Post accompanying Tim Page's article. His effect over my senses can only be compared to my admiration for Audrey Hepburn. He is, en fait, my male AH. My new-found obsession with Gould inspired my AP studio art project. I don't think the painting does his beauty justice but it's a comfort to see his face everyday.


  1. He definitely looked like Ethan Hawke when he was young.

  2. Hello, can you tell me how you found the top, color photo of Glenn Gould? I would like to reproduce it to hang on my wall.