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jacobsaunders

A GOOD ITALO-CZECH CELLO BY MATTHIAS HEINICKE, VENICE, c. 1900

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Mathias Heinike was a violin maker in Wildstein bei Eger, in North Bohemia, born in 1871 when the Kingdom of Bohemia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It isn’t unusual to hear 19th C. instruments from this area (or nearby Fleißen and Schönbach) described as “Czechâ€, although this is entirely incorrect. This part of N. Bohemia was Sudetendeutsch, and only became “Czech†with the “ethnic cleansing†after the second word war. One can easily verify this by talking to elderly Schönbach colleagues, long since in Bubenreuth, who can (careful, and will!) give you hour long eye witness accounts of the gory details of the “ethnic cleansing†they experienced as small children.

Heinike instruments are quite numerous, and of the higher grade of Schönbach work. As I have often explained on this forum, these are made from Schönbacher “Schachteln†where one finishes the outline, does the purfling, refines the f holes etc.

Heinikes entry in (his contemporary) Lütgendorffs dictionary from 1922 appears to be based upon correspondence between the two. Lütgendorff (i.e. Heinike) reports that he learnt his trade in the Ernst Reinhold Schmidt factory in Markneukirchen, followed by journeyman periods in Berlin and Budapest (although I wasn’t able to find him there). He further claims to have traveled to Degani to complete his trading. This yarn is still told today, to general mirth, by a colleague in Bavaria, whose grandfather was apprenticed to Heinike, although I have always failed to see even a homeopathic connection with Degani’s work.

Heinike set up shop on his own account in Wildstein in 1897 and used several different labels. Pilar and Sramek picture two of these on page 220 of there book “Umeni Houslaruâ€, the second of which reads:

Mathias Heinicke, Geigenbauer

Wildstein b. Eger 1927. Bohemia

Schüler von Eugenio Degani in Venedig.

This label is an obvious dreadfully irresistible provocation to some people, who can’t wait to obliterate the second line of the text, for pecuniary reasons.

All things considered, I find it impossible to fathom, how Heinike could be described as “Italo-Czechâ€, since he was neither, or how he could have made a Cello in Venice, ca. 1900, since he had freshly set up shop in Wildstein (near Schönbach) in 1897.

http://tarisio.com/pages/auction/auction_item.php?csid=2197733376&cpid=3175448576

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Dear Jacob,

Many thanks for the information and clarification. Much appreciated. We have adjusted the catalog description to be more accurate and posted an addendum.

Thank you.

Jason

Thanks Jason, sorry to disturb you on a sunday morning!

(he still wasn't"Czech" though!)

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Heinike set up shop on his own account in Wildstein in 1897 and used several different labels. Pilar and Sramek picture two of these on page 220 of there book “Umeni Houslaruâ€, the second of which reads:

Mathias Heinicke, Geigenbauer

Wildstein b. Eger 1927. Bohemia

Schüler von Eugenio Degani in Venedig.

This label is an obvious dreadfully irresistible provocation to some people, who can’t wait to obliterate the second line of the text, for pecuniary reasons.

How strange-looking, to see an English word in an otherwise-German label, and that he'd describe himself as having been "Schüler von" rather than "Ausgebild. von"

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How strange-looking, to see an English word in an otherwise-German label, and that he'd describe himself as having been "Schüler von" rather than "Ausgebild. von"

I have been wondering what you find strange about “Schüler von†Bean. I find â€Bohemia†(in English) rather than the German “Böhmen†a bit strange. Perhaps he was still trying to teach the Americans that he wasn’t “Czechâ€, some 8 years after “Czechoslovacia†had been created in St. Germain?

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I suppose I find "Schüler" an odd usage because when I lived "up de waterkant", "Schüler" was only ever used to describe children getting the basic, pre-tracking education. Perhaps the usage is/was different in the cat-lick areas?

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I have spent the last 30 odd years struggling with German and it’s grammar, so I’m certainly not the top authority (perhaps Match can help), but “Schüler†doesn’t seem at all strange to me. Elegant German would perhaps be “Schüler des†rather than “vonâ€, but it could be asking a bit much from a Schönbach dimwit to use the genative case. (“von†could perhaps be speaking a bit more in the “Vernacularâ€?, sorry)

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Hi, on the one hand "Schüler" as a status is used for pupils until they graduate from school but colloqially it´s used as "taught by": "Heifetz ist Schüler von Auer." Nothing uncommon on the label.
I´ve seen some really nicely made, straight varnished Heinickes but there are also a lot around here with doubtful labels and stamps. I have a really good sounding and decent made viola with a four part belly, but label and stamp are not really convincing:
post-25003-0-53732200-1351606144_thumb.jpgpost-25003-0-96114800-1351606159_thumb.jpgpost-25003-0-75944400-1351606175_thumb.jpg
Jacob, I see your point but I doubt all his fiddles are made from boxes. Would be very interested in what they say about the "all fiddles made from boxes" theory at the VSA convention next week, where the Markneukirchen exhibition and lectures will take place.
All the best
Mat

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Dear Mat,

I think far more violins were made from "Boxes" than anyone will ever want to believe, and that in particular, no Markneukirchen (area) maker could even imagine how else one should make a fiddle. Only last year I bought some left over "Boxes" from a vm. widows estate, that were from Zach in Vienna for instance, who I had never suspected of doing it like this before. Machold sen., who did his apprentiship in Markneukirchen just before the war, had a great big box full of "Schachteln" from his father in Chemnitz too. They will probably tell the VSA convention how they run around in the forest, tapping on trees with a silver hammer.

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Dear Jacob,

we had this discussion before, and I appreciate your expertise highest, but with all due respect, I am not convinced of your generalization. Unfortunately, I stick to be the Doubting Thomas. I fully agree with you that most instruments from this region are made from prefabricated boxes because of the system, otherwise the huge number of exported instruments would not have been achieved. Perhaps we should also point out that the quality can be very simple (build on the back) or at higher standard (made on inner or outer (yes!) moulds). Many violin makers around the world have made instruments from Schönbach / Markneukirchen Boxes and even today you can get some from there (incidentally not badly made). But.... I think this is not a generalistion for all good luthier of the 20th century from this region. Local features are the most usual fact, but doesn´t exclude other features.

For example: If the scroll fluting ends at 6´clock it means the violin is probably from this area, it doesnt mean all violins from there have short fluting. On the good instruments from there I`ve seen every fluting went to the very end. The same goes for inset linings or willow blocks. I've seen some examples. When a violin maker made fiddles from boxes, it does not mean that every of his instruments is made from one. That is probably true for most of the German violin maker of the late 19th and early 20th Century.

Speaking to U.Kretzschmann and E.Richter (both Markneukirchen) turned out to be the first misconception that a box maker is understood for them as the maker of the rib construction, not the completed box. I heard nothing about silver hammers but found their examples and illustrations quite plausible. There were some violin makers who have built odd models in their own style. The work of the best violin makers is on a high level that making the ribs were a breeze.

I don´t know the VSA Gold Medal Winner 2008 Haiko Seifert not personally, but I am sure that he zhinks about himself as a maker of the Markneukirchen tradition, where he was trained (and made his own boxes).

Too bad that apparently none of the Markneukirchen maker is a member on this forum.

I know that I will not convince you, but in this case I am happy to be the thorn in your fur.

Perhaps this is also worth a new thread.

If Jeffrey reads this and thinks a new thread would be better, he could take this post as an opener but maybe it´s not so important at all.

Have a nice evening

Mat

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Dear Mat,

I hope we meet some time and can talk it over, much to long for here. The silver hammer reference was from a Heimatfilm about Jacob Stainer (or was it Mathias Klotz?)

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Dear Jacob,

Vienna is on my wishing list for the next two years, would like to drop in.

I remember too the scene with the silver hammer, but also don´t know, where it was. But my beloved scene was in a children book where the puppet carver maestro Severin, who lived in a forest glade, was visited from the worlds best virtuosos since he could give a soul to every violin. Of course his son Michel, the best violinist of all, married the princess in the happy end of the book.

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Yeah, the plot is something like that. The film was based on a novel by Johannes Schuler, Deutsche Hausbücherei, Band 163, “Jakob Stainer und Liebeswahnsinn” Wien 1925. Don’t bother to look for one, you can borrow my copy!

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Hi, on the one hand "Schüler" as a status is used for pupils until they graduate from school but colloqially it´s used as "taught by": "Heifetz ist Schüler von Auer." Nothing uncommon on the label.

hmmm, thanks! Nice to learn something new.

I´ve seen some really nicely made, straight varnished Heinickes but there are also a lot around here with doubtful labels and stamps. I have a really good sounding and decent made viola with a four part belly, but label and stamp are not really convincing:

As it's meant to be from 1925, I can certainly understand why you're unconvinced.

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