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Michele Deconet


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The problem is Deconet is apparently not an actual maker...

http://www.veniceres...com/deconet.htm

If Deconet is "not an actual maker" it will surprise not only dealers, but also patrons who've paid as much as $450,000 for one of his violas! The violin apparently was the subject of a bidding war, which if I understand anything about prices, was bought cheap by a knowledgeable dealer, with the idea of making a more-than-just-tidy profit. Hard to imagine anyone throwing away that kind of money without a clue of knowing what he's getting.

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It is surprising, indeed very much so. (I seem to recall Pressenda is another such example; others actually made his fiddles but in some cases he varnished them with his amazing red varnish.)

But it seems Deconet was a traveling violinist (not luthier) who sold violins by several actual makers and put his own label in. Something like a Martin Swan labeled violin. He is a violinist who has a violin business but I don't think he actually makes them with his own hand.

Or perhaps another (somewhat tortured) analogy might be the very fine violins from China with "house" brands. I tried one the other day which my teacher just bought in Beijing. It knocked my socks off; fantastic violin.

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For me the value of these forums are the generous feedback from various well schooled professionals. Perhaps we can make this an informative look at the violin in question. If there was genuine interest in this violin as the hammer price suggests, was it purely a case of over excited bidding or maybe there is another maker we should consider over the partial label stating Deconet. Venice might be the obvious place to start as that was his home base if indeed that label and the mystery surrounding his vocations are true. Meanwhile, I am slowly poking around, but my skills only allow such tortoise like speeds. Any thoughts ?

r.

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patrons who've paid as much as $450,000 for one of his violas!

You're behind the times. :)

There is a specific hand seen in accepted Deconet instruments... so it's maybe a good idea not to jump to conclusions concerning Pio's "he isn't a maker" statement and wait to see more complete information (from archival research & expertise) in future publications.

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There is a specific hand seen in accepted Deconet instruments... so it's maybe a good idea not to jump to conclusions concerning Pio's "he isn't a maker" statement and wait to see more complete information (from archival research & expertise) in future publications.

You're such a tease Jeff... :D

It's like a movie trailer with out a release date

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Hello Rick, great question and post. In the past I remember a number of occasions in which a violin far exceeded the estimate and that some one who had attended the auction knew the high bidder and was able to ask some questions and receive answers. I don't know if this is possible concerning this violin, but it does show that there are a number of really good experts/dealers that know exactly who made a questionable violin and are able to certify the violin. This happends at all the major auctions all over the world. OT

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Lets not jump to the wrong conclusions... at least two people came to the decision that they knew they could get a good return on $37,000 - either because they know who made it, irrespective of the label, or maybe even because that's what its worth as a no-name northern Italian fiddle, circa 1740 or whatever. I'm not saying its not a Deconet. I'm not saying it is, either.

I couldn't agree more with Chris and Jeffrey. Whatever the documentary evidence has to say, its an inescapable fact that there is a body of distinctive Venetian work that appears with the labels of Deconet in a very consistent manner. Sometimes researchers get seduced by archives, and forget how very important the material evidence of the instruments themselves is. It's a very dubious scholarly approach.

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You're behind the times. :)

There is a specific hand seen in accepted Deconet instruments... so it's maybe a good idea not to jump to conclusions concerning Pio's "he isn't a maker" statement and wait to see more complete information (from archival research & expertise) in future publications.

Stephen,

The facts do not support Stefano Pio's theories whatsoever. I wonder if Duane Rosengard can address this topic?

Chris

So, oh Citeable Authorities, where should us humble researchers rate the material at the link Stephen gave? Is it a credible biographical source or not?

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I'm waiting for a verdict on the site you posted. The line of reasoning based on archival entries looks seamless, but I've seen that kind of thing disintegrate before. On the other hand, if one ignores the scholarship because of the surviving examples alone, wouldn't a body of work look coherent and show progression over time if someone was sourcing from a single shop or a limited number, and then relabeling it for sale as their own? This is the kind of thing that starts catfights at historians' conventions, and I'd like to see more informed opinions posted.

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I'm waiting for a verdict on the site you posted. The line of reasoning based on archival entries looks seamless, but I've seen that kind of thing disintegrate before. On the other hand, if one ignores the scholarship because of the surviving examples alone, wouldn't a body of work look coherent and show progression over time if someone was sourcing from a single shop or a limited number, and then relabeling it for sale as their own? This is the kind of thing that starts catfights at historians' conventions, and I'd like to see more informed opinions posted.

If Duane catches sight of this thread, and has the time to respond, I believe he will be most enlightening. Nothing like getting data first hand. If he doesn't respond, wait for a future publication. :)

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Sometimes researchers get seduced by archives, and forget how very important the material evidence of the instruments themselves is. It's a very dubious scholarly approach.

Dear Ben,

I presume that I have misunderstood you re. "very dubious scholarly approach". Surely one has to line the instruments up to make sense with the existing original archival evidence (facts) and not suppress the facts to match whatever instruments one has. Isn’t one otherwise one is emulating Hound with his Roth’s? If Deconet is recorded in contemporary documents as a “Sonadore”, then he was a “Sonadore”, just as the cobbler Gobetti would have made shoes.

BTW. Ever since the first time I met him, some 45 years ago, Charles Beare has been writing a book about Venetian Lute and Violin Makers, lets hope we can read it soon.

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Dear Ben,

1) I presume that I have misunderstood you re. "very dubious scholarly approach". Surely one has to line the instruments up to make sense with the existing original archival evidence (facts) and not suppress the facts to match whatever instruments one has. Isn’t one otherwise one is emulating Hound with his Roth’s? If Deconet is recorded in contemporary documents as a “Sonadore”, then he was a “Sonadore”, just as the cobbler Gobetti would have made shoes.

2) BTW. Ever since the first time I met him, some 45 years ago, Charles Beare has been writing a book about Venetian Lute and Violin Makers, lets hope we can read it soon.

The way I read Ben's comment, I think that's basically what he's saying... just the other way 'round.

Yes, that's the "future publication" to which I was referring. Now that Charles Beare is no longer involved as a partner in the firm, maybe he'll have time to concentrate on the book.

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I am looking hopelessly at the violin from the link provided by the OP, trying to educate myself and think about what is it that makes this violin more expensive than others. And of course I can't find any reason because I am not a maker (but I can't really force myself to find the F-hole attractive or the purfling well done for example). So could someone tell me of the price comes from something in the violin that is outstanding, or if part of the price would be explained by the fact that the violin was made in the 18th century?

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Let's not forget that although Pio has made the effort to publish his hypothesis in his book, it does not necessarily make it more true as a matter of fact.

I strongly support John Dilworth Bonhams article as I have seen several instruments with a central pin, indicating a at least close relation to Peter Guarneri of Venice.

Peter Guarneri of Mantova also had a double career as musician and maker, and therefore a limited but high quality output of violins.

It is also true that some makers vary a lot in style and consistency during a life time of work.

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I wrote Professor Pio and asked him to comment; he kindly referred me back to his article -

Dear Sir, you can find a detailed chapter on Deconet on my web site: www.veniceresearch.com You can quote and use it. Best regards Stefano Pio

Le mail ti raggiungono ovunque con BlackBerry® from Vodafone!

While trying to think of anyone I have come across that could play violin on a professional level and make a living producing consistent quality violins, I kept racking my brain.

Suddenly, in a Kensho-like moment of epiphany the answer arrived: Sawzall Tchaikovsky Concerto.

The fact remains that David "Deconet" Burgess is clearly mainly a violinist, the lutherie thing seems more of a sideline or hobby.

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