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Christopher Reuning

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Everything posted by Christopher Reuning

  1. GeorgeH, Good point, but condition problems usually result in a discreetly altered condition report and maybe an adjustment to the estimate or reserve. Rarely would an item be withdrawn especially when it is the star lot for this reason and not in the 11th hour. (In my experience at least)
  2. Hello all, I have no idea why the Guadagnini would have been withdrawn, but can assure you that no auction house would pull something like that for a private sale and I doubt any owner would either. In my experience, the possibilities are few (as I wrote on Facebook) 1. Ownership dispute (i.e. stolen, estate dispute, WW2 claim) 2. Authenticity issue Chris
  3. Greetings all, It has been quite a few years since I have checked in on my friends here but happy to see things are still vigorous! Someone suggested I weigh in, so here I am. This is a good post IMO and there are many interesting aspects to comment on. here are mine if you care to indulge. If not, please move to the next. 1. Chinese fakes are easy to identify often by their Chinese wood which looks like American wood, (with “snot marks”) generic Strad models, feeble heads, thin varnish and ropy edges. There are more American dealers that can ID them as would normally populate a Texas BBQ joint on a Saturday precovid. This is expertise 101. 2. It is hard to pigeon hole an expert. either they know and recognize a certain maker or they don’t. Once you establish a visual memory and systematic and discipled study regimen, it all comes down to ethics and sensibility. This is the secret and rare ingredient. 3. The “experts” all know who are the real ones and who are the pretenders. The real ones don’t crow about their knowledge or denigrate their colleagues. 4. Charles Beare is the best expert we ever knew and those who denigrate him are perhaps highly insecure or worse. He doesn’t pay too much attention to Chinese fakes or whether something is a Roth or a Bruckner. He is good on the difference between and Eberle or Gagliano for starters though. 5. Other than our senior statesman mentioned above, the younger generation generally began with learning 20th C makers that they dealt in and were available to them and then worked up the ladder. Those who were determined enough and perhaps lucky and respectful to their seniors gradually learned about the classical Italian makers. See above: it is hard to pigeon hole an expert. For example: Eric Blot is one of the best experts I know who earned his reputation as an expert on 20th C Italians. He certainly has more access to these instruments than almost anyone else in the world. This does not mean he has not grown to learn other schools in the last 20 years, because he certainly has! The same can be said about a few other “experts” listed on this post and some who are not. Comments and questions welcome of course.
  4. Dear Omobono, First of all, kudos for your very alert (as usual) detective work! I am happy to see that Cozio has corrected their site, though they may want to add the other important owners of "The Spagnoletti" Amati such as Charles Oldham, etc. A few comments: I notice that Charles Beare was careful in his characterization of the provenance of the small pattern Amati he refers to in his letter of 1988. Robert Bein was less careful and made the error of referring to the small pattern violin as "The" Spagnoletti in his certificate of authenticity. Robert was not aware of the existence of the grand pattern Amati I wrote about in the recent issue of The Strad and simply made an understandable error. It is important to understand that "The Spagnoletti" violin which has been referred to in various literature over the last century is the Grand Pattern violin which passed from Spagnoletti to Waters, to Oldham, to Dwight Partello, to Patterson and to Wunderlich. Of course, Spagnoletti may well have owned the small pattern violin also but this is not the violin referred to in various literature as "The SpagnolettI". Personally, I find it a bit odd to imagine an owner writing his name on the inside of a violin and I think this is a tenuous link to Spagnoletti at best. Christopher Reuning
  5. Dwight, If you like soft, whippy bows with the strength of overcooked pasta, this is a great way to buy a bow!
  6. Hi Michael, I have not seen this viola at least with Pierre, but I have seen a handful of Lorenzini violas and agree with you that they differ from the violins like the one in the Hamma book. Thanks, Chris
  7. I have seen 1 or 2 labels of the second type shown in the Doring book on page 44 that appear to be old and original to the violin. For me, these are the most compelling evidence in support of the traditional attributions. This label brings up some interesting questions such as the use of the word "Pater" and the claim of being alumnus Stradivari. Of the two Lorenzo Guadagnini violins pictured in the Doring book, consensus is that the first one on page 48 matches several Piacenza G. B Guadagnini violins like the 1747 in Hamma. There are a group of Lorenzo violins that fit into this category. The second, on page 53, is the more compelling type. There are a handful of these violins with attractive one piece backs and Lorenzini heads. To me, these are all a special type of Lorenzini. Another populated group of Lorenzo Guadagnini violins can easily be attributed to Mantegazza.
  8. To echo Jeff, I am happy to debate and discuss the topic, but please read Duane's book at least. I can not paraphrase his detailed research in an internet forum. As to the recurring question of who may have taught Guadagnini, the answer is the same as with many makers: we do not know. On this question, I would make several points: 1. A super talented "genius maker" does not necessarily need a full apprenticeship to become proficient. He should be able to pick up the basics very, very quickly. 2. Some of these best makers first instruments can be relatively or very feeble then rapidly progress so that the 3rd or 4th instruments are already vastly improved. I am thinking specifically of A. Stradivari, S. Serafin, and G.B. Guadagnini. 3. Guadagnini and many other makers began young as woodworkers or in some other specialized hand crafting trade that had a rigorous training process. These young apprentices were culled from a selected pool because they showed special talent. I suspect that certain of them who had a special sort of talent were then chosen to be musical instrument makers or made this decision on their own through a relationship with a musician. Perhaps Guadagnini began repairing violins for several years before he made one? Perhaps he had no training from a violinmaker? 4. Of course, Andrea Amati himself made the first real "Cremonese" violin. Certainly, he would have been trained as a viol maker but he still "came out of nowhere" in a sense. If Andrea Amati can make such an advanced violin in this environment, then G.B. Guadagnini can make his first (rather feeble) effort with little or no formal violinmaking training. It is important that we do not apply 21st Century values, standards and circumstances to craftsmen working in 17th or 18th Century Italy.
  9. I did use this term... GBG signed a statement to his priest that he was born in Cremona. He also lied to his own children about his biography. Add to this the various statements on his labels and then look at the Lorenzo Guadagnini concoction and you do have a pattern of behavior. However, I do love his violins!
  10. Dwight, As far as I know, all of the Gasparo violas that are uncut follow virtually the same model. Yes, there are a couple outliers that may be more Maggini or other maker, but the half dozen mainstream uncut violas are all peas in a pod. The Brescian exhibition book, "Liutai in Brescia" is a great resource. I think we have some here for sale. Chris
  11. Stephen, Why try to do it yourself? We use a customs broker for many years never with a problem.
  12. Fellow enthusiasts, So happy you caught this program, I agree it was very well done! The Paganini name is important because Duane Rosengard proved that this was the cello in the famed Stradivari quartet Paganini assembled at the end of his life (not the Ladenburg) Duane also discovered that Count Stainlein (note corrected spelling) was in important amateur cellist, the Countess inherited the cello. If you read Duane's essay under the "history" button on the website, you will see so many other newly discovered aspects of this fascinating provenance. Enjoy!
  13. If you agree that the pegbox is replaced and ignore it's hideous shape, the volute is actually quite good. I also like the outline and the label looks compelling. soundholes are good too. One must beware of reaching too far when evaluating a violin from pictures. I think it is enough to say that the violin is good enough to bring in for further study. Going beyond that is probably not too wise or viable
  14. Wooden, I think these guys are being just a little tough on you. I think your violin has a chance to be something decent. I don't think it is possible to get a good opinion from posting pictures online, however...you need to show it in person to an expert. Christopher Reuning
  15. Bassclef, My favorites are the "Cramer, Heath" and the "Salabue, Martzy" but the "Earl of Falmouth", "Kreisler", and "Perkin, Burnford" have to be considered the top 5 from that best period of his work. Christopher Reuning
  16. Dear Roger, Thanks for your nice essay about Bergonzi. I want to bring to your attention that I have, in fact, done a comprehensive survey of the Bergonzi labels. I studied 45 of the 51 known instruments and found just 10 with original labels. Of these 10, 6 had fully legible dates. You can read about this on pp. 17 of the Bergonzi catalogue. Cheers, Chris
  17. Stephen, Bravo, this is wonderful! Please don't forget the Smithsonian in Washington and the museum in Phoenix. More comments later....
  18. With all the confusion, I missed bidding on the lots I wanted. I wonder how many bids have been dropped as a result of the problems...
  19. Michael, This is another more recently discovered Bergonzi cello. The one Joe was talking about was the narrow B form Bergonzi that was exhibited in 2010 in Cremona...it was widened with a strip in the middle. The one which will be exhibited this year is a shorter model that corresponds with the "Pleeth" and other such Stradivari cellos. Chris
  20. Well said Neil. The Boissier is a superb violin that has not been seen outside Spain. Perhaps the exhibition is not as comprehensive as 1987, but the examples from the so called "golden period" are dense and of astonishing quality. This exhibition should illustrate to any of those people that try to migrate the golden period into adjoining years that really the period of 1708-1717 is above all.
  21. The Scotland University is another nearly pure Francesco along with the Oskar Braun in the 1730-50 catalogue. The main reference piece I know of is the 1742 "Tarisio" Francesco with original label of 1742 (by memory of date and title) that appeared several years earlier in a Cremona expo. All of these violins share certain features to varying degrees so it is quite certain that Francesco had a significant hand in the last years at least of this workshop.
  22. Janito, I would point to three most obvious features: 1. Soundholes: Antonio soundholes have a lower curve under the lower wing and an upper curve over the upper wing that follows a graceful line. Francesco, on the other hand, does not. Where the line meets under the wing, it is pointed...as if he did not try to get a good flow to the curve and only connected the two sides. 2. Purfling miters in the corners: Antonio purfling miters are gracefully joined and have excellent architecture. Francesco is quite a bit more awkward. 3. Arching: Antonio connects the channel with the arching magnificently whereas Francesco arching is more awkward and does not flow as well from the channel to the arch. This is most apparent in the top arch. Of course, the Kreisler is a late Antonio, so the work is not as exact as is seen in his earlier instruments. Nevertheless, these features are still well thought through even if the execution is nit as perfect. It is difficult to describe these features in words, so there is no substitute for looking on your own....even if just in the catalogue. And of course, what features one person may observe may differ from those that another person may focus on.
  23. I hasten to add the major credit goes to Charles Beare who has put together the finest exhibition I have ever seen.
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