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Wilhelm Dürrschmidt violin


PhilipKT
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https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/94434112

this looks like a nice violin. I looked up Durrschmidt, and he was a real guy and he made real violins, but his name was also out on various imported violins that were sold by William Lewis & Son(?) is it possible to tell from these pictures whether this is a shop fiddle or made by the man himself?

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On 12/17/2020 at 12:30 AM, Violadamore said:

Wilhelm Dürrschmidt founded a firm in Markneukirchen which labeled all their stuff with his name.  IMHO, it's a trade fiddle, particularly with the MADE IN GERMANY label inside, as noted in the description.  :)

Well of course, but that would be true regardless. Anything from Germany imported into the United States would say “made in Germany” on it, So that label wouldn’t have any bearing on whether it was made by the guy. However, your other point is salient. There is, however, a lot of info about him online, so I was wondering if this was a better quality instrument. It actually looks nice to me.

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1 minute ago, PhilipKT said:

Well of course, but that would be true regardless. Anything from Germany imported into the United States would say “made in Germany” on it, So that label wouldn’t have any bearing on whether it was made by the guy. However, your other point is salient. There is, however, a lot of info about him online, so I was wondering if this was a better quality instrument. It actually looks nice to me.

"Fine" violins (like a Mario Gadda, or even my Salustri), being unique, qualify as "fine art", and do not require a country-of-origin marking.  Mass-produced items legally have to be marked with where they were primarily made.  Which category did the Dürrschmidt firm consider the violin you posted to be in?  :lol:

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11 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

Like John Juzek?:)

Well, those say either, violin maker in Prague, or violin maker formally in Prague”

I’ll have to re-read the information that I first saw, but I gathered the impression that he was a reputable maker and his violins were well respected. Either way it doesn’t matter, I’m not bidding on the instrument, I’ve done quite too much of that lately but in an effort to improve my eye I posted, thinking that it was a higher level of quality than the run of the mill box.,

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12 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

"Fine" violins (like a Mario Gadda, or even my Salustri), being unique, qualify as "fine art", and do not require a country-of-origin marking. 

Thank you very much for that. I never knew that little tidbit. Most fine instruments are marked with the location of origin, So I just assumed the location requirement also applied to them.

However, I am still interested in whether this looks like a good violin, if it is possible to tell from the typically terrible pictures that are offered.

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14 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

Thank you very much for that. I never knew that little tidbit. Most fine instruments are marked with the location of origin, So I just assumed the location requirement also applied to them.

However, I am still interested in whether this looks like a good violin, if it is possible to tell from the typically terrible pictures that are offered.

Phil, the only foolproof way to know that, is to play it when properly set up.  Some of the prettiest violins available, sound poorly, and some which are visually unattractive can sing like canaries.  :)

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30 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

Well, those say either, violin maker in Prague, or violin maker formally in Prague”

I’ll have to re-read the information that I first saw, but I gathered the impression that he was a reputable maker and his violins were well respected. Either way it doesn’t matter, I’m not bidding on the instrument, I’ve done quite too much of that lately but in an effort to improve my eye I posted, thinking that it was a higher level of quality than the run of the mill box.,

on Maestronet it is the oldest of old chestnuts, with the longest of grey beards, how the violin industry back then worked. Dealers, or “Verschicker” had dozens of people who made Dutzendarbeit on a piecework basis, in various price grades (mostly cheap). They either stuck Antonius Stradavari or Stainer or some other nonsense in, or the name of the dealer, and sold them to dealers in America or elsewhere by the dozen. Other violins were sold to dealers in far away cities without a label, where the shopkeeper there stuck his own label in (Heidegger, Kiendl etc.), as if they had made it there, a bit like me importing Chinese bows, and stamping “Saunders” on it. So if you see a violin labeled “Fischer Grazlitz, or Anton Hüller, or Gebrüder Placht, or hundreds of others, you know you have a Dutzendarbeit of whichever grade. I wish I had €100 for every time I have had to explain that.

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14 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

on Maestronet it is the oldest of old chestnuts, with the longest of grey beards, how the violin industry back then worked. Dealers, or “Verschicker” had dozens of people who made Dutzendarbeit on a piecework basis, in various price grades (mostly cheap). They either stuck Antonius Stradavari or Stainer or some other nonsense in, or the name of the dealer, and sold them to dealers in America or elsewhere by the dozen. Other violins were sold to dealers in far away cities without a label, where the shopkeeper there stuck his own label in (Heidegger, Kiendl etc.), as if they had made it there, a bit like me importing Chinese bows, and stamping “Saunders” on it. So if you see a violin labeled “Fischer Grazlitz, or Anton Hüller, or Gebrüder Placht, or hundreds of others, you know you have a Dutzendarbeit of whichever grade. I wish I had €100 for every time I have had to explain that.

I appreciate that explanation, but yes I knew all that. I guess I wasn’t making myself clear. My initial question was whether this might have been made by the man himself. That was quickly settled with the answer that it is just a trade instrument. My next question was whether this particular example looks like above average quality, if it is possible to tell from the photographs.

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Just now, jacobsaunders said:

Ah, a provocation?:)

Oh, never, in all honesty I love getting the information you share so freely, so I would never provoke you in anyway except to get additional information. I am actually so grateful for all you give to the people here that I am taking up a quiet collection so that we can chip in and buy you a nice Juzek for Weihnachtstage.

you said you had never seen one, and by golly that needs to change.

 

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9 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

Oh, never, in all honesty I love getting the information you share so freely, so I would never provoke you in anyway except to get additional information. I am actually so grateful for all you give to the people here that I am taking up a quiet collection so that we can chip in and buy you a nice Juzek for Weihnachtstage.

you said you had never seen one, and by golly that needs to change.

 

:)

Field trip to Philip's house!!! 

Now that would be worthwhile travel!!! :D

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15 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

This note confirms both the Dutzenarbeit aspect of these violins but also speaks well of the overall quality, which led to the original query.

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This is the common commercial advertising propaganda, which was adopted by almost all dictionaries of the period (or just copied from each other) and should be ignored. Lüttgendorf is full of such, about many of these dealers. The OP looks to me just like the usual without any particular “skillful” features, nor "finished by a maker", but just like a readily bought in Dutzendarbeit.

Dürrschmidt in Warsaw was possibly a cousin of Juzek?

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6 hours ago, Blank face said:

This is the common commercial advertising propaganda, which was adopted by almost all dictionaries of the period (or just copied from each other) and should be ignored. Lüttgendorf is full of such, about many of these dealers. The OP looks to me just like the usual without any particular “skillful” features, nor "finished by a maker", but just like a readily bought in Dutzendarbeit.

Dürrschmidt in Warsaw was possibly a cousin of Juzek?

That’s from the Jalovec book. I thought that was a reputable reference?

If it is not, what do you recommend?

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IMHO, reconstructing the trade violin "food chain" in its heyday, particularly with regard to 19th. C.  Germany and Austria-Hungary, is still very much a work in progress, where individual scholarship is necessary.   Given that the "standard references" from the period are unreliable, one is thrown back on mining available archival material, catalogs, and periodicals, with illuminating recourse to examining the artifacts themselves (making the study as much an exercise in archaeology, as in history).

BTW, sorting out legitimate makers from distributors and dealers is complicated by the number of makers who supplied to others, and who owned workshops and/or retail shops at some point in their careers, just as it is now.   :)

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