Classic Italian Violins
Late period Guadagnini 1775
(©2006 photo courtesy of Leroy Douglas)
Since 1851 property of city of Genoa, Italy - the del Gesù owned and played by Paganini.
(photo courtesy of Il Ministero degli Affari Esteri, Italia)
1735 Guarneri "del Gesù"
Transaxial CT scan (Computed Tomography) of Guarneri del Gesù violin
thru c-bout region upper corner
(courtesy of LoenBormanandKing, Sept2005)
Housed at the Ashmolean Museum since 1939,
remains unplayed, according to the provisions of its bequest.
(photo courtesy of ArjunBharioke Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Stradivari (date not specified)
(Courtesy of Sirr&Waddle 19 (3): 639 -- RadioGraphics 1999)
X-large alt. view
alt. decorated Strad
(photo courtesy of HÃ¥kanXauxaSvensson, Sweden)
Matched set in the Vazquez Collection of Historical Stringed Instruments, Vienna, Austria.(photo courtesy of the OrpheonFoundation (Liechtenstein)/ MuseumofMusical Instruments/ Vienna, Austria)
Nicolo Amati in 1654
CT scan - transaxial image of the Amati violin
(Courtesy of Consulting Radiologists, Ltd., Dr.SteveSirr, and JohnWaddle, St.Paul MN)
(photo courtesy of PeriodicoCremonaLiutaria) more photos of an Andrea Amati
photo decorated Brothers Amati viola
Stradivari Violin Fetches a Record $3.54 M at Christie's N.Y.
By KatyaKazakina -
May 16,2006 (Bloomberg)- A 1707 Stradivari violin known as ``The Hammer''
sold for $3.54 million at Christie's International Plc in New York, setting
a new auction record for a musical instrument of any kind.
The tally for the violin created by Antonio Stradivari in Cremona exceeded the presale high estimate of $2.5 million. The purchaser, who was not identified, made the winning bid by telephone.
Only 620 Stradivari violins are believed to have survived, and the
last one to come up for sale, in April 2005
``The Hammer'' is named after its first recorded owner, 19th-century Swedish jeweler and collector Christian Hammer. It is considered superior in sound and craftsmanship to many other Stradivari creations because it was made ``smack in the middle of what we refer to as Stradivari's `golden period,' which was between 1700 and 1720,'' said Kerry Keane, head of Christie's musical instruments department.
The Hammer, whose back measures 14 inches long, displays the label ``Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis/Faciebat Anno 1707'' on the inside. Keane said it has a clear, bell-like sound that can be heard over an orchestra in the very back of a large concert hall.
(photo courtesy of LefterisPitarakis /AP)
Loaned to Violinist- Since 1992, the ``Hammer'' violin has been owned by a Japanese oil company, which lent it to Japanese-born, New York-based violinist Kyoko Takezawa for 12 years. She played it at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall in New York, among other major venues, until a year ago, she said. The violin ``has sweetness, but on the other hand a very strong, concentrated sound that can penetrate big concert halls,'' Takezawa said. ``It can create a three-dimensional sound in musical interpretation.''
Before today's auction, Christie's had already realized the top four Stradivari sales. In 1990, the ``Mendelssohn'' violin, made in 1720, sold for $1.8 million, a record for its time. Also known as the ``Red Mendelssohn,'' because of its rich, red finish, it inspired the 1998 film, ``The Red Violin. In 1998, the ``Kreutzer'' from 1727 sold for $1.6 million. Two years later, the 1700 ``Taft, Ex Emil Heermann'' brought $1.3 million. Then in April 2005, the 1699 ``The Lady Tennant'' went for $2.03 million, setting the world auction record for a musical instrument.
(** The overall sale included a "Les Paul electric guitar", this set the world auction record
for the highest ever musical instrument sale at $5.5m)
``Lady Tennant'' in auction at Christie's ---> XL here
(photo courtesy of AmandaBenson/CNS)
(orginal photo credit Sotheby?)
"ex-Vieuxtemps" Del Gesù Breaks Auction Record
From The Times UK
In London a private treaty sale of the 1741 violin, was negotiated by Sotheby’s, which declined to reveal the price paid by a Russian businessman, breaking the world auction record for any musical instrument. The figure was said to be “well in excess” of the world auction record of $3.54 million, which was achieved by a Stradivari sold at Christie’s New York in 2006.
The Sotheby’s Del Gesù was once owned and adored as his “inseparable companion” by Henri Vieuxtemps, the 19th-century composer and violin prodigy who impressed Schumann with his playing. Later it remained in the same private family collection for more than 100 years.
``Prized violin plays again for Moscow's elite''
Helen Womack in Moscow
Violinist Pinchas Zuckerman played the 250 year-old Guarnerius del Gesu violin during a concert in Pashkov House, Moscow, March 21 2008.
The most expensive musical instrument in the world was played in public for the first time for more than 70 years to 160 guests in Moscow on Saturday in a demonstration of Russia's growing economic and cultural status. Lawyer Maxim Viktorov invited the cream of Moscow society to the private concert at Pashkov House to show off the Guarneri del Gesù violin he bought at Sotheby's in February for a record-breaking $3.9m (nearly £2m).
The Israeli virtuoso Pinchas Zukerman performed a programme of Bach, Mozart and Bruch with the orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre. "I tried out the instrument a little in London before I bought it," said Viktorov, 35, a violin collector who likes to play to the piano accompaniment of his wife, Anastasia. "But since then, I haven't been able to touch it. This instrument cannot bear any agitation. I want the maestro, who lives by his art, to be the first to play it so that the violin feels it is receiving the respect it deserves. Then I might find the strength to play it myself because it's a great source of energy."
Violins made by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù (1698-1745) are even more prized than instruments made by Antonio Stradivari, who like Guarneri worked in Cremona. The instrument bought by Viktorov was made in 1741 and later belonged to Henri Vieuxtemps, the Belgian composer and violin prodigy, who was court soloist to Tsar Alexander II.
The concert was due to be repeated for a wider audience last night at the Moscow Conservatory, but on Saturday the applause for Bach's Violin Concerto in A Minor was polite; the applause for Mozart's Violin Concerto Number 5 in A Major was faint. When the familiar and rousing last movement of Max Bruch's Violin Concerto in G Minor ended, the audience clapped with considerably more enthusiasm, bringing Zukerman back to the stage for three bows. Despite his virtuosity on the venerable instrument, however, there were few shouts of "bravo", let alone a standing ovation.
Referring to the relative decline of Moscow as a cultural centre in the turbulent 1990s, Viktorov said: "We need to build up the energy again so that artists who are regarded as the best in the world are seen here regularly. Modern Russia is not just about oil and gas. It's about culture, too."
Violins by Giuseppe Guarneri (del Gesù) are rarer than those by Antonio Stradivari because only about 150 have survived, compared with 600 Strads. Viktorov prizes the del Gesù because he says it has more depth of sound. Pinchas Zuckerman normally only ever plays his own instrument, also a del Gesù, made in 1742.
"I wasn't sure he would agree to play my instrument," said Viktorov. "But he took it in his hands and played for seven seconds, after which he said the last time he had that feeling was when he touched his own instrument for the first time." The violins were made within a year of each other from the same wood. "These violins are sisters," said Viktorov, "and they met again in Moscow after more than 250 years."
"Guarneri Violin Sold for $10 Million"
By DANIEL J. WAKIN
Jean E. Brubaker
With tears in his eyes, the violinist Aaron Rosand left his soul behind in a London hotel suite last week.
That is how he described the sale of the instrument he had played for more than 50 years, the famed ex-Kochanski Guarneri del Gesù. The buyer was a Russian billionaire whom Mr. Rosand declined to identify and who paid perhaps the highest price ever for a violin: about $10 million.
“I just felt as if I left part of my body behind,” Mr. Rosand said on Wednesday, overflowing with metaphors for what the instrument meant to him. “It was my voice. It was my career.”
Mr. Rosand said he immediately donated $1.5 million to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, as he had promised two years ago. Mr. Rosand attended the conservatory and has long taught there. “It was my first obligation, but it is not the end of what I will give to the school,” he said. “It’s all part of the legacy I want to leave behind. The violin, I suppose, is part of it too. It’s paying back the school that meant so much to me.”
Mr. Rosand said the buyer had also agreed to a request to allow other violinists to play the instrument.
“I had to do it,” Mr. Rosand, 82, said of his painful decision. “I’m getting up there in years,” he said, and his playing days are over. “I wanted to see it fall into hands where the violin would be played by prominent players.”
Geoffrey Fushi, owner of Bein & Fushi in Chicago, a major dealer and restorer of string instruments, said he had heard about the Kochanski sale and confirmed the $10 million figure. He said another famous violin, the “Lady Blunt” Stradivarius had been sold in 2008 for about the same amount, considered a record at the time.
Mr. Rosand, a prominent soloist in his day, acquired the instrument in 1957. It took him 10 years to pay off the loans for it. Meanwhile, he said he was besieged by other virtuosos who wanted to buy it from him.
“I’ve made 35, 36 recordings on it,” Mr. Rosand said. “At least there’s a living legacy of what I’ve done with that violin.”
The ex-Kochanski dates to 1741 and is considered one of the finest Guarneri instruments in existence. Like many famous violins, it acquired the name of one of its owners, Paul Kochanski, a Polish virtuoso who died in 1934.
“I suppose it’ll now be known as the ex-Rosand,” its new former owner said.
To help put this in perspective by contrast:
• On December 6, 2007 this sculpture sold for $57.2 Million
• On June 19, 2007 this chair sold for $913,600
• On June 19, 2006 a record $135 million
• In 2004 $104.1 M for Picasso's 1905