Home Interior Design A Stradivari violin from the golden period that belonged to Catherine the Great will be auctioned next month at Tarisio

A Stradivari violin from the golden period that belonged to Catherine the Great will be auctioned next month at Tarisio

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A 1708 violin made by Antonio Stradivari, one of history’s greatest luthiers, will go on sale in New York on June 8 at Tarisio Fine Instruments and Bows. Formerly the property of Russian Empress Catherine the Great, it is nicknamed “Empress Caterina”.

Tarisio didn’t reveal an estimate, but the house has had great success selling the master’s instruments in the past. The auctioneer holds the record for a Stradivari violin, $15.9 million for the “Lady Blunt”, at a sale in 2011. The “Lady Blunt” is said to be the second best-preserved of his violins, while the best preserved, the “Messiah”, resides in the Ashmolean Museum of the University of Oxford. (“Like the Messiah, it’s worth the wait”, boasts the establishment’s websitea bit inscrutable.) Last year, the same house sold the second most expensive Stradivari, the “Da Vinci, ex-Seidel,” for $15.3 million.

The current example comes from its ‘golden period’, which lasted from about 1700 to 1720. Prior to last year’s Tarisio sale, a violin from the golden period had not come to the block for about fifteen years. years.

Courtesy of Tarisio, 2023.

Online bidding begins June 8. Crafted from maple and spruce, the instrument is in excellent condition, with all major original parts, and bears its original label, according to Tarisio.

The piece passed through the hands of no less than two Russian empresses. It appears in the historical archives in 1898, among the papers of WE Hill & Sons, a London shop specializing in string instruments. Alfred Hill traveled to Russia with one of his best clients, Baron Johann Knoop, and while there inventoried Prince Youssapoff’s collection, which included a number of Stradivari instruments, among them “the ‘Empress Caterina’.

According to Hill’s account, the Russian ambassador in Venice acquired the instrument for Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, from which it passed to Catherine the Great, and then to Secretary of State Adrian Moïsevitch Gribovsky, a colonel and court adviser (who, according to Tarisio, “had his own serf orchestra”), then it went to his son, Vasily Yakovlevich Guberti.

Hill brought the violin back to London in 1898. It did not last long on the shelves. He sold it the following year to French violinist Marie Douglas Shothert, who appears holding the instrument in a painting by Hubert von Herkomer owned by the University of London.

She then gave it away, and in the following years passed through the collections of violinist Henri Belville, French coffee magnate Prosper Maurel, violinist Leo Guetta, his daughter Peggy Guetta Finzi, pioneering Philadelphia radiologist Jacob Gershon-Cohen, tropical fish specialist. Herbert Axelrod, and the industrial entrepreneur Giorgio Feige, whose heirs offer it for sale.

White Guetta owned it, it was exhibited at the 1937 Stradivari bicentenary exhibition in Cremona, the luthier’s birthplace. The violin is accompanied by certificates from Hill and each of the dealers who subsequently handled it: Rembert Wurlitzer, William Moennig & Son, Silvestre & Maucotel and Caressa & Français.

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