Musical automaton "Accordion player"

    Musical automaton "Accordion player"


    Circa 1970

    Paul Zwahlen

    Wood, metal, paper, papier-mache, plastic, fabric; mechanical and carpentry work, painting, sewing

    52 x 62 x 175 cm


    The stool on which young man with accordion in his hands sits is mounted on rectangular pedestal. The pedestal stands on four corner wooden carved feet. Its lateral sides are pasted over with plastic foil imitating portiere with floral patterns on yellow background; the upper side is painted with bright green color. A plate under plexiglass with the inscription in French, metal plate with coins’ slot, button and box for rejected coins are on the front side. Blinker lantern with green bell glass is to the right. Dynamic loudspeakers covered with black protective wire mesh are on the right and left lateral sides. The rear wall with lock can be opened. The accordion player is wearing brown papier-mâché boots with thick black sole, black trousers with pleat, bright red collarless swing shirt trimmed with yellow narrow band and wide floral ribbon, white undershirt with stand-up collar. Black cloth hat with floral application and red rims is on the head. The head with brown hair and eyebrows, the hands are made of papier-mâché and painted. Chamomile flower is in his mouth. The musician holds a model of a button accordion of the Italian company "Bontempi" on his knees. The instrument details are finished with red mother-of-pearl acrylate, buttons are made of white mother-of-pearl plastic, and bellows are from red paper. The automaton electronic control system and cassette type audio unit are inside the pedestal. When a coin is dropped into the slot, the electronics is activated and the automaton starts to move—its head turns and tilts, eyes move from side to side and close, eyebrows rise and descend, hands move along accordion keyboards, fingers press the buttons. The action is accompanied by the music recorded on compact cassette.
    The key for the lock on the rear side is in the set.