Can you answer a Romare Bearden painting question?

bearden piano 2

Yesterday afternoon after our daughter’s piano recital at the Taft Museum of Art, the family visited the galleries to see the Romare Bearden show. This exhibition of prints includes Homage to Mary Lou (The Piano Lesson) from 1983 (featured in this post.) While looking at it, our daughter said, “that’s not piano music on the piano.” She went on to explain the staffs and the clefs indication this is orchestra or band music. I don’t play piano so asked her if someone could learn to play piano from this. She agreed someone could, if they knew which line of music to read. This left me wondering, “why not piano music?”

I understand the subject of the work is jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams, who spent her childhood years in Pittsburgh. I am not familiar with this jazz pianist and don’t know as much as I wish I did about Romare Bearden, but I do know he knew music.

Can anyone either familiar with Bearden or with music suggest why piano music was put on the piano?

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