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Has anyone tried the contemporary Italian violin at the Tarisio March 2021 New York auction?


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Hi everyone,

Has anyone tried them? Would you like to share some testimonials or videos?

Also, I'm a little curious as to what the reason for these violins seemingly being much lower than the actual price could be.

Lot 67: A CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN VIOLIN BY FRANCO FORCELLINI, MANTUA, EARLY 21st CENTURY
Lot 68: A CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN VIOLIN BY LUIGI ERCOLI, PISTOIA, 1998
Lot 69: A CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN VIOLIN BY PIERGIUSEPPE ESPOSTI, CREMONA, 2002
Lot 70: A CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN VIOLIN BY SEBASTIAN RIBES, CREMONA, 2017

Edited by shaq
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On 3/27/2021 at 11:18 PM, shaq said:

...........I'm a little curious as to what the reason for these violins seemingly being much lower than the actual price could be.

Lot 67: A CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN VIOLIN BY FRANCO FORCELLINI, MANTUA, EARLY 21st CENTURY
Lot 68: A CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN VIOLIN BY LUIGI ERCOLI, PISTOIA, 1998
Lot 69: A CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN VIOLIN BY PIERGIUSEPPE ESPOSTI, CREMONA, 2002
Lot 70: A CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN VIOLIN BY SEBASTIAN RIBES, CREMONA, 2017

Supply and demand?  :)

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Every auction I have watched recently has had an abundance of certificated contemporary Italian violins in its sale.

In fact so much so I have made comments about it in my dodgy auction review YouTube channel

As VD says it is possibly a result of a lack of demand due to the pandemic. I imagine that there are a number of makers feeling the strain at the moment.

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On 3/28/2021 at 4:18 AM, shaq said:

Hi everyone,

Has anyone tried them? Would you like to share some testimonials or videos?

Also, I'm a little curious as to what the reason for these violins seemingly being much lower than the actual price could be.

Lot 67: A CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN VIOLIN BY FRANCO FORCELLINI, MANTUA, EARLY 21st CENTURY
Lot 68: A CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN VIOLIN BY LUIGI ERCOLI, PISTOIA, 1998
Lot 69: A CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN VIOLIN BY PIERGIUSEPPE ESPOSTI, CREMONA, 2002
Lot 70: A CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN VIOLIN BY SEBASTIAN RIBES, CREMONA, 2017

I always try all these Contemporary Italians at UK auctions, but have never come close to wanting to buy one. I have often wondered how/why they end up there ... this phenomenon predates the pandemic btw.

I suspect that some of them are consigned by the makers who need cash flow (because they make more violins than they can sell) or who recognize that they've made a lemon. 

Fortunately there appears to be a queue of naive buyers stretching round the block who are prepared to shell out for something just because it's Italian. It may sound like a mouse that was run over by a tractor several months ago but at least it's Italian.

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52 minutes ago, martin swan said:

I always try all these Contemporary Italians at UK auctions, but have never come close to wanting to buy one. I have often wondered how/why they end up there ... this phenomenon predates the pandemic btw.

I suspect that some of them are consigned by the makers who need cash flow (because they make more violins than they can sell) or who recognize that they've made a lemon. 

Fortunately there appears to be a queue of naive buyers stretching round the block who are prepared to shell out for something just because it's Italian. It may sound like a mouse that was run over by a tractor several months ago but at least it's Italian.

When you try these modern instruments, do you write down your opinions for future reference? What is it you feel they are lacking?

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I considered these instruments as they were in my price range.  However, I felt there were other instruments that were better suited to my taste than these modern Italians.  I sampled the Sebastian Ribes violin which seemed powerful and beautifully made but lacking somewhat in tonal character.  I wanted something a bit sweeter, warmer and more colorful.  I ended up winning the Michael Darnton c. 1992.  This was my first violin auction purchase.  A bit of a gamble, but a fun and exciting experience.  

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6 hours ago, Shelbow said:

Every auction I have watched recently has had an abundance of certificated contemporary Italian violins in its sale.

In fact so much so I have made comments about it in my dodgy auction review YouTube channel

As VD says it is possibly a result of a lack of demand due to the pandemic. I imagine that there are a number of makers feeling the strain at the moment.

It's not just the pandemic.  See below.

6 hours ago, martin swan said:

I always try all these Contemporary Italians at UK auctions, but have never come close to wanting to buy one. I have often wondered how/why they end up there ... this phenomenon predates the pandemic btw.

I suspect that some of them are consigned by the makers who need cash flow (because they make more violins than they can sell) or who recognize that they've made a lemon. 

Fortunately there appears to be a queue of naive buyers stretching round the block who are prepared to shell out for something just because it's Italian. It may sound like a mouse that was run over by a tractor several months ago but at least it's Italian.

IMHO, between the success of the Italian violin renaissance which got major traction from the 1970's on, and seems to be producing record numbers of Italian luthiers, as well as the slow but sure spread of informed opinions like Martin's, the market for modern Italian violins of modest origins (even among the most naive buyers with much more money than tonal sense or connoisseurship) is getting saturated.  The effects of the pandemic on luthiers, dealers, and players alike is exacerbating the situation, but it's been brewing for some time now.

I have some more comments and observations, but let's see where this discussion goes, for a while.  :)

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3 hours ago, Violadamore said:

It's not just the pandemic.  See below.

IMHO, between the success of the Italian violin renaissance which got major traction from the 1970's on, and seems to be producing record numbers of Italian luthiers, as well as the slow but sure spread of informed opinions like Martin's, the market for modern Italian violins of modest origins (even among the most naive buyers with much more money than tonal sense or connoisseurship) is getting saturated.  The effects of the pandemic on luthiers, dealers, and players alike is exacerbating the situation, but it's been brewing for some time now.

I have some more comments and observations, but let's see where this discussion goes, for a while.  :)

Of this I have no doubt, but there seems to be more than usual. 

I would have to check back over my video to work out the exact percentage, but in the last Bromptons auction a little under 10% of the items for sale were contemporary Italian, which I found to be a higher number than normal. Sadly Bromptons have removed some items from the finished sales list on their site and wayback machine doesn't have the ful list cached either.

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4 hours ago, Shelbow said:

Of this I have no doubt, but there seems to be more than usual. 

I would have to check back over my video to work out the exact percentage, but in the last Bromptons auction a little under 10% of the items for sale were contemporary Italian, which I found to be a higher number than normal. Sadly Bromptons have removed some items from the finished sales list on their site and wayback machine doesn't have the ful list cached either.

Can you send a link to your video, out of curiosity.

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13 hours ago, Violadamore said:

It's not just the pandemic.  See below.

IMHO, between the success of the Italian violin renaissance which got major traction from the 1970's on, and seems to be producing record numbers of Italian luthiers, as well as the slow but sure spread of informed opinions like Martin's, the market for modern Italian violins of modest origins (even among the most naive buyers with much more money than tonal sense or connoisseurship) is getting saturated.  The effects of the pandemic on luthiers, dealers, and players alike is exacerbating the situation, but it's been brewing for some time now.

I have some more comments and observations, but let's see where this discussion goes, for a while.  :)

Would Salustri be considered amongst those in the Italian violin rennaisance? :P

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1 hour ago, JRyn said:

Would Salustri be considered amongst those in the Italian violin rennaisance? :P

Certainly he was influenced by it, particularly in his meticulous layout techniques, careful interior finishing, and use of an oil varnish.  If you are unaware of the historic revitalization of Italian luthiery training and the trade itself in the second half of the 20th. Century, you can find references on it scattered through numerous threads on MN.  :P

It's actually easier to prove provenance on hobbyists like Salustri, than it is on many more prolific (or apparently prolific :rolleyes: ) contemporary Italian makers, but I'm not ready to do that reveal yet.  :)

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There was an article about COVID19 impacting Cremona and it's violin industry. 

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20200707-the-dark-future-for-the-worlds-greatest-violin-makers

Quote

According to Grisales, the effects of this crisis on Cremonese violin making will be dramatic. “In the Consortium, which includes around 60 of the 160 luthiers in the city, one workshop out of two is struggling,” he says. Some already had difficulties in standing out from competition and placing orders before the pandemic. The Coronavirus-induced economic crisis further exacerbated their troubles. “I know luthiers who have not sold instruments since November,” Grisales says. “We’re talking about people who have children and a rent to pay, and can’t make the ends meet. Two craftsmen of the Consortium have not yet received the 600 euros (£550) that the government promised to the freelancers, and they had to borrow this money.”

 

Quote

Luthiers were further affected by the cancellation of two of the most important international trade fairs in the first half of 2020, in Frankfurt and Beijing. During these fairs, violin makers from all over the world usually jostle to carve out their own niche, strengthening existing relationships with some dealers and trying to create new ones. “The cancellation of such events is an issue for us,” says Grisales. “In October there will be another important fair in Shanghai, which should be confirmed.” However, Grisales fears that people arriving from Italy may be subject to more stringent quarantine measures than people from countries that had lower infection rates: “If this happened, we Cremonese violin makers, unlike our competitors, would not be able to attend the fair.”

 

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On 4/1/2021 at 4:35 PM, gizmomonster said:

There was an article about COVID19 impacting Cremona and it's violin industry. 

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20200707-the-dark-future-for-the-worlds-greatest-violin-makers

 

 

This article reinforces what I've been saying.  The pandemic has accelerated trends which were already in motion.  :)                      

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 3/31/2021 at 7:30 PM, John Alexander said:

I considered these instruments as they were in my price range.  However, I felt there were other instruments that were better suited to my taste than these modern Italians.  I sampled the Sebastian Ribes violin which seemed powerful and beautifully made but lacking somewhat in tonal character.  I wanted something a bit sweeter, warmer and more colorful.  I ended up winning the Michael Darnton c. 1992.  This was my first violin auction purchase.  A bit of a gamble, but a fun and exciting experience.  

wow you also bought a violin in a blind auction??? You might be the bravest maestronet member I know... 

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On 4/25/2021 at 1:26 PM, germain said:

wow you also bought a violin in a blind auction??? You might be the bravest maestronet member I know... 

I don’t know about brave.  Most would probably say dumb.  Regardless, I am extremely happy with my purchase.  The instrument sounds and plays wonderfully.  I consider the price a bargain.  

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