Guadagnini and Cozio


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I just read Phillip Kass' article about the Guadagnini family over on the Cozio website, and there was one little bit in it that I had never heard before and that I find troubling. 

 

"Cozio was further inspired when Guadagnini told him that the Stradivari family possessed a number of unsold instruments as well as the tools and forms from Stradivari’s workshop...The result was Cozio’s acquisition of the Stradivari instruments and workshop contents ..."

 

Does this mean there is documentary evidence that G.B.Guadagnini was aware of what was left in the Stradivari "shop" or household at the time? Does this suggest that he might have been in contact with Paolo Stradivari?

 

We've come to describe G.B. Guad as a "pathological liar," who invented his "Cremonese" past (not to mention his violin-making father), but if he was putting his "employer" in contact with Paolo Stradivari himself, not to mention possibly acting as a go-between, how could he expect to "get away" with falsifying his past? I am aware that although his method is close to Cremonese classical, G.B. Guad's work implies he never received direct tutelage from a Stradivari nor a Bergonzi, but could it be possible between his "wandering years" before he settled in Piacenza, and his departure from Piacenza to Milano, that he had something to do with the Stradivari/Bergonzi shop? A floor sweeper, (a tea-brewer) a rough-wood cutter, a case maker...something that would leave him some shred of legitimacy so that Paolo Strad wouldn't denounce him as a phony?

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I just read Phillip Kass' article about the Guadagnini family over on the Cozio website, and there was one little bit in it that I had never heard before and that I find troubling. 

 

"Cozio was further inspired when Guadagnini told him that the Stradivari family possessed a number of unsold instruments as well as the tools and forms from Stradivari’s workshop...The result was Cozio’s acquisition of the Stradivari instruments and workshop contents ..."

 

Does this mean there is documentary evidence that G.B.Guadagnini was aware of what was left in the Stradivari "shop" or household at the time? Does this suggest that he might have been in contact with Paolo Stradivari?

 

We've come to describe G.B. Guad as a "pathological liar," who invented his "Cremonese" past (not to mention his violin-making father), but if he was putting his "employer" in contact with Paolo Stradivari himself, not to mention possibly acting as a go-between, how could he expect to "get away" with falsifying his past? I am aware that although his method is close to Cremonese classical, G.B. Guad's work implies he never received direct tutelage from a Stradivari nor a Bergonzi, but could it be possible between his "wandering years" before he settled in Piacenza, and his departure from Piacenza to Milano, that he had something to do with the Stradivari/Bergonzi shop? A floor sweeper, (a tea-brewer) a rough-wood cutter, a case maker...something that would leave him some shred of legitimacy so that Paolo Strad wouldn't denounce him as a phony?

One will find something much more "troubling" if one investigates Kass' "investigations" into certain workmen's work whom once worked for Nicolo Amati.

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I don't recall reading anywhere that Guad was describing as a "pathological liar," who invented his "Cremonese" past (not to mention his violin-making father). I think that the evidence, although somewhat overwhelming, does not totally reject his claims, there may well be some element of truth in there somewhere. Cremona was only a day’s walk from Guads home. We do know he was illiterate, but so were many makers at the time. We also know that although he was a guild member, regulations appear to have been a little less stringent, perhaps providing the opportunity for part time work or workshop visits.   

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I just read Phillip Kass' article about the Guadagnini family over on the Cozio website, and there was one little bit in it that I had never heard before and that I find troubling. 

 

"Cozio was further inspired when Guadagnini told him that the Stradivari family possessed a number of unsold instruments as well as the tools and forms from Stradivari’s workshop...The result was Cozio’s acquisition of the Stradivari instruments and workshop contents ..."

 

Does this mean there is documentary evidence that G.B.Guadagnini was aware of what was left in the Stradivari "shop" or household at the time? Does this suggest that he might have been in contact with Paolo Stradivari?

 

We've come to describe G.B. Guad as a "pathological liar," who invented his "Cremonese" past (not to mention his violin-making father), but if he was putting his "employer" in contact with Paolo Stradivari himself, not to mention possibly acting as a go-between, how could he expect to "get away" with falsifying his past? I am aware that although his method is close to Cremonese classical, G.B. Guad's work implies he never received direct tutelage from a Stradivari nor a Bergonzi, but could it be possible between his "wandering years" before he settled in Piacenza, and his departure from Piacenza to Milano, that he had something to do with the Stradivari/Bergonzi shop? A floor sweeper, (a tea-brewer) a rough-wood cutter, a case maker...something that would leave him some shred of legitimacy so that Paolo Strad wouldn't denounce him as a phony?

There exists correspondence between Paolo Stradivari and G. B. Guadagnini. The information comes from a letter from Paolo Stradivari to G. B. Guadagnini dated 17 July 1775. Some of the correspondence is published and transcribed in a small booklet, written by the journalist Elia Santoro of Cremona that was never translated into English entitled 'I Traffici e Falsificazioni dei Violini di Antonio Stradivari' Cremona, 1973.

 

The letter forms a part of the "Carteggio" of Count Cozio di Salabue now deposited in the State Archives of Cremona.

 

Bruce

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 'I Traffici e Falsificazioni dei Violini di Antonio Stradivari' Cremona, 1973.

 

This I gotta read!

 

I don't recall reading anywhere that Guad was describing as a "pathological liar," who invented his "Cremonese" past (not to mention his violin-making father).

 

Chris Reuning used the term "pathalogical liar" in a VSA talk about who made the "Lorenzo Guadagnini" violins back in 2006, for one.

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With the supposed hot temper of G.B., I wouldn't put it past him to get irritated with Cozio and add the "alumnus Antonii Stradivari" which is interestingly as big on the label as his own name.

 

Without reading everything carefully, Guadagnini had "befriended" Paolo as early as 1745, so it DOES seem possible that he helped Cozio in dealing with Paolo. This according to the "I Percorsi..."  book, the article by Scoponi, page 92.

 

BTW, I wonder how many assume that Cozio was the old man helping a young violin maker.  It was Cozio who was the young guy. 

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 'I Traffici e Falsificazioni dei Violini di Antonio Stradivari' Cremona, 1973.

 

This I gotta read!

 

I don't recall reading anywhere that Guad was describing as a "pathological liar," who invented his "Cremonese" past (not to mention his violin-making father).

 

Chris Reuning used the term "pathalogical liar" in a VSA talk about who made the "Lorenzo Guadagnini" violins back in 2006, for one.

 

I missed that one, but that does not make the statement right. Chris was probably just using the term for effect. I do this all the time when I am talking. Come to think of it, as a child my mother once told me that I lie even when I don't need to. It was a proud moment in a young boy’s life. Nevertheless I would not call myself a pathological liar and no-one else better do that either. On that note Chris can probably be happy that Guad is not still alive. He might be getting his neighbor to write to a top American lawyer.

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There exists correspondence between Paolo Stradivari and G. B. Guadagnini.

According to me in 1775 Paolo Stradivari had not instruments of his father, maybe a viola (letter from the son of Paul, Antonio, after the death of Paul). In the letter of August 1775 it is clear that Paul was trying Cremonese instruments to musicians. Even better you understand the letter of November 8, 1775 for G.Guadagnini by Paul. Reports of Guadagnini with Cremona seem to be only commercial.

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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!

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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!

So... the current claim is that Lorenzo Guadagnini NEVER made a bowed string instrument and that his own son concocted a story to the contrary, long before he was even born?

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So all Guadagninis are forgeries?!

 

Cut it out!! No one ever said that! G.B. Guadagnini was a great maker who made alot of violins and his descendants went on to keep up a thriving business in Turin until the second World War. He did seem to be a bit of a P.R. conscious business man, and it seems he "invented" the existence of a legacy by making fake violins by his father, who from documentary evidence seems unlikely to have been a trained violin maker. Greedy dealers did the rest by re-labelling other Piacenza and Milanese violins as Lorenzo Guadagninis over the years.

 

Another P.R. scam seems to have been his claim that he was born in Cremona, and was an alumnus of Stradivari. It's often been said in different books and articles, that it was easy to claim that in Turin, where no one would be able to check out the truth. Putting this into context, though, if he was in contact with Paolo Stradivari, and putting him in touch with Count Cozio, it seems less apparent that this Cremonese history was an outright lie, as Paolo could have easily denounced him as a liar to Cozio. One could imagine Guadagnini as a young man, before settling in Piacenza, or during his years there, "hanging around" the Stradivari shop in Cremona, observing and "picking up" the rudiments of the Cremonese system, having a drink with the young Paolo,  keeping in touch over the years as the Bergonzi thing petered out, looking to make a commission on a clear out of the remaining shop goods,..it's all idle speculation and not worth the screen space I'm typing it on, but I'm imagining G.B.Guad as less of a pathological liar and more of an exagerator...

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So all Guadagninis are forgeries?!

Like Strads you mean?  Maybe not.  Like to my surprise I got to see a real GDG once when the owner played the clubs around here, so maybe a couple of Guads are real too. I still have doubts about the Strads though, maybe they're a myth. [Returns to her stack of forged Strads, etc. ]  ;)  :lol:

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Who taught GB to make violins if not his father?

 

It seems the research presented by Chris Reuning back in 2006 pretty much eliminates Lorenzo Guadagnini from the picture. There remains some big holes in what seems to be generally known about this time and place, though. What was going on instrument-making wise in Piacenza before the 1740's when labelled Guads start appearing?

 

There was the Segher family from the late 1600's with a son who spent time in the Amati shop. I don't know if there are any known violins by the Seghers. There was Hieronymus II Amati who spent quite a few years in Piacenza avoiding debt problems in Cremona, I think the latest findings suggest 1698-1718. There are violins by him from this period. The ones I've seen are labelled Cremona, but those might not be original labels.

 

So, from 1718-1740's, when Guad's oldest labelled violin appears, it seems we don't know of any violins reliably made in Piacenza. Guad was born in 1711 way out in the hillside villages, and it seems he was wandering about, from village to village in the 1730's before settling in Piacenza in 1742. Was there an active violin-maker there at the time who could have taught him the basics? Was he already a trained wood-worker who picked up violin-making by observing an active shop? All fascinating stuff, but maybe more archival research will (or already has) turn up more information.

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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!

(Excepting for the moment his father's labels/violins, which complicates things further...)

What if he just acted in good faith? Is it not possible though, that the counter-evidence is wrong, describing of another person with the same name? What form and shape is it in, this counter evidence? (I'd love to see it with my own eyes.) I guess that I, like Michael, like to think of G.B. Guadagnini as an honest, hard working dude. Blame my ignorance for this..

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Nice little town in the mountains, Piergiuseppe.

Excuse my ignorance. If I understand correctly from this thread, GB made his father's violins and reinvented Lorenzo as a violin maker. It seems like a lot of work to create a myth. To what purpose would he do that?

So, are Lorenzo's violins reattributed as GB's nowadays? Or to some other maker?

Chris, I have no idea! His father perhaps? Certainly, he (Andrea) wasn't self taught. Or was he?

Haven't read up on GB Guadagnini in a while, is there an online source (or other) where I can read the latest research?

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Torbjorn, you can read Duane Rosengard's book or Chris Reuning's VSA talk about Lorenzo Guadagnini from 2006 or so. It's pretty impossible to prove a negative, so who knows, maybe Lorenzo Guadagnini did know how to make violins, but the documents unearthed by Rosengard and researchers working for Reuning show that it was highly unlikely. Unlike his son, Lorenzo lived mostly in small villages and had no apparent contact with makers nor musicians, neither people who could have taught him, nor people who could have bought whatever he made. The violins that have been attributed to Lorenzo in the past have been getting more accurate attributions recently, when it's possible. Certain have been identified as by G.B.Guadagnini, who, getting started fairly late in a business dominated by "dynasties," probably thought it would improve his image if he could claim he was from a long line of makers. Others have been identified as by Gaspare Lorenzini, and others by the Mantegazzas. There are apparently others that haven't been identified as by someone who has left labelled violins. One candidate mentioned by Reuning is a certain Nadotti, who was a good friend of Guadagnini's and who's name shows up in several references to makers, but who's work has mostly disappeared. Of course, it's not impossible that Lorenzo made violins, but then, who taght him? Especially while he was renting an isolated hilltop tavern/inn?

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