Portrait of Emil Oberhoffer

by Frances Cranmer Greenman, 1940

About the art

A painting, a piano and a world-famous orchestra. What do these three things have in common? The answer is Emil Oberhoffer. The German-American conductor, shown here in Frances Cranmer Greenman’s oil painting, started the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1903. He was also its first conductor, leading what’s now known as the Minnesota Orchestra for 19 years. His estate donated his seven-foot Mason & Hamlin grand piano to the library in 1946, helping to nurture musical learning and creativity for many others. The portrait now keeps watch near the piano, merging art from different mediums to honor a Minneapolis music man.

Artist’s statement

“I believe in portraits because the highest thing a man knows—the thing he likes the best and always will—is himself. People!”