|Rare & Fine Instruments
The Ifshin Collection of Fine Violins
We at Ifshin Violins have always been proud of our extensive collection of fine string instruments and bows. We currently are fortunate to have an unusually large selection of fine violins. If any of these fine violins are of interest to you, please give us a call. We will be delighted to give you more information.
Jean Baptiste Vuillaume is widely recognized as one of the finest 19th century luthiers, leaving an indelible mark on the French tradition and influencing generations of violin makers and dealers throughout the musical world. His career is marked by a relentless drive to construct the perfect instrument, combining the classical Italian tradition with contemporary French style. He had access to one of the largest caches of old Italian instruments, which he studied assiduously to recreate the great masterpieces, at an affordable price. He was so successful in fact that he counted among his many prizes at World’s Fairs and International Exhibitions, the Cross of the Legion of Honor, the highest honor in France. Never satisfied to rest upon his laurels, Vuillaume unceasingly strove for superior quality throughout his career, constructing together with his talented staff of luthiers nearly 3,000 superb instruments.
When Vuillaume moved his shop to 3 rue de Ternes in 1858, at the age of 60, his intention was not to retire, but to focus his energies on constructing the finest instruments for concert musicians, collectors, and European nobility. After working in the heart of Paris for 30 years, Vuillaume had fashioned a flourishing business through careful attention to clients of all incomes, brilliant innovations in the craft, and a unique synthesis of contemporary French elegance inspired by the old Italian masterworks of Stradivarius and Guarneri del Gesu. His customers included great musicians like Piatti, Servais, and Paganini, great pedagogues like De Beriot, Savart, and Dancla, and nobility from Spain to Russia. He brought this international fame with him to his new workbench in the outskirts of Paris.
He set up his private studio in the attic of his atelier. It was here that he personally finished and varnished all the instruments that were to bear his flamboyant signature. Not satisfied with allowing an instrument of merely competent quality to go forth from his workshop, he guaranteed that the archings would facilitate the silky power desired by Europe’s best musicians, that the scrolls were masterfully conceived and sculpted, that the purfling was perfectly laid- in short that his instruments were up to his highest of standards both tonally and aesthetically. He took particular pains to ensure his unique varnish recipes and application techniques were not copied by competitors. He not only varnished each and every instrument produced in his atelier, legend has it he stuffed his apron with aromatic herbs to cover up the scent of individual ingredients.
Made in 1873, this violin is one of the last instruments constructed in Vuillaume’s workshop, and the accompanying sales receipt and certificate show it was last sold by the important Parisian firm of Roger & Max Millant in the 1950’s. The scroll is well balanced, always elegant. The turns on the volutes are harmonious and easy, spiraling fluidly toward a softly rounded eye. The purfling is perfectly set with ebony, gracefully framing the instrument. The one-piece back is of a magnificently flamed piece of maple. The top is of a typically wide-grained piece of dense spruce, ideal for a glowing, soaring sonority. Ever the perfectionist, Vuillaume selected all the wood for its’ aesthetic as well as tonal properties. The instrument is modelled on the work of Guarneri Del Gesu and is dressed in a rich golden red varnish with a soft rose colored hue. Like many Vuillaume violins, this nimble instrument is possessed of a powerful response, giving the player total musical control. The tone is nuanced in color and rich in resonance, perfect for a concert violinist or chamber musician.
Article by Raphael Gold
All photographs by Richard Ward
Fermo, mid 19th Century. Postacchini spent his entire career in Fermo and was mostly self-taught. This wonderful violin was made in the maker’s best period. The tone is superb, powerful, resonant and responsive. This would be an excellent choice for a soloist and is tonally one of the best violins we have had in recent years.
Francois Louis Pique
Before Pique set up his workshop in Paris, in 1777, French luthiers constructed instruments on homegrown, Stainer inspired models. Pique changed the course of French violin making by adopting the Stradivari model for his violins, giving them more projection than those of his predecessors. His workmanship was also more exacting, giving his instruments a more sophisticated aspect in addition to tonal superiority. Over the centuries, great violinists such as Louis Spohr, Ysaye, and Ole Bull owned and performed on a Pique.
This violin is a good example of his mature work, at once Stradivari inspired and highly individual. The instrument is full of tonal colors, giving the player expressive freedom. It would be ideal for a concert musician and is accompanied by a certificate from Vidoudez.
Carlo Giuseppe Testore
Milan, 1697. Carlo Giuseppe is generally considered the most important maker of the Testore family, despite his limited production of instruments. Born in Novara, he moved to nearby Milan in 1683 where he worked with Grancino before setting up on his own. He was focused primarily on tonal qualities in his work, selecting woods for their superior acoustic potential. Today, collectors and concert musicians alike praise his instruments for their sonorous qualities.
This instrument has a wonderful, warm tone, a great deal of depth and rich overtones- a real joy to play. It is a particularly fine example of his work, in a good state of preservation, and comes with certificates from W.E. Hill & Sons and Kenneth Warren in Chicago.
Milan, 1900. Bisiach was probably the most important figure in Italian violin making of his era. His instruments dating from 1900 and before are considered by experts to be his best. This is an exceptional example of his work, in wonderful condition and a superb tone. It is one of the finest examples by this maker we have ever had.
Florence, c 1800.
Vincenzo Carcassi was the son and pupil of the great Tomaso Carcassi, one of the best and most important of Florentine makers. He also worked with his uncle, Lorenzo. Vincenzo’s instruments, like those of his father and uncle, are well crafted on a full model. This violin has rich, dark tone and is accompanied by a D’Atilli certificate.
Carlo Antonio Testore
Milan, 1764 (7/8). Instruments of the 18th Century Milanese makers are always in demand because they represent excellent value in a fine old Italian violins. Their clients were not as wealthy as those from Cremona and Venice, so they had to use plainer wood and work more quickly, yet the tone quality of their instruments ranks with the best of the great old Italian masters. This violin has a wonderful "old Italian" sound. This is an excellent choice for the professional musician looking for a slightly smaller instrument of quality.
1929. The second son of violin maker Carlo Carletti, Orfeo worked closely with his older brother, Natale. Though the talented Orfeo died in 1940 at the age of 36, he left behind many instruments of bold character. This violin is a good example of his work, made when he was only 23 years old.
Charles Adolphe Gand
Like so many of the finest luthiers, Charles Adolph Gand grew up in a family with a long lineage of important makers. His pedigree can be traced back to Nicolas Lupot of Orleans, arguably France’s most influential maker. After studying with and working for Francois Pique, the first of the French makers working in the “modern” style, Lupot set up in Paris in 1798. His accolades include an appointment to the Imperial Chapel in 1813, luthier to King Louis XVIII in 1816, and a commission as luthier to the Paris Conservatory of Music in 1817, to whom he would make an instrument for the winner of the annual competition. In 1802 he hired Charles Francois Gand, known as Gand Pére, as apprentice.
Charles Francois Gand, the father of Charles Adolph Gand, was himself a first rate luthier. Having learned the “modern” style from his master, Gand Pére constructed instruments on the Stradivarius model rather than the Stainer or Amati models. In other words, he preferred instruments with a flatter arching which achievied a powerful sound fit for contemporary concert halls. In 1820 he acquired the shop of another influential Parisian maker, Koliker, building a large atelier of international importance. Though he was considered a rival to the thriving businesss of Vuillaume and Lupot, he maintained a good relationship with Lupot. When Lupot retired in 1824, he passed all his official appointments to Gand Pére.
Charles Adolph Gand, also known as Gand Frére, took over his father’s shop in 1845. Steeped in a rich tradition of France’s best luthiers, Gand flourished as one of the finest makers of his generation. Working with his brother Eugene, he won 1st prize at the Paris Exhibition in 1855, receiving the prize directly from Napoleon III, the emperor of France. In 1862 he was made Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, the highest honor in France. A source of national pride, he was also the official luthier to the Paris opera and to the Emperor. Because he was an acclaimed expert of old instruments he had limited time to make instruments. Yet his entire production is of the highest quality, and is sought after by collectors and professional musicians alike.
This violin is exemplary of his production. All the woodwork is exquisite and elegant, the varnish a rich red with a touch of antiquing. The tone is clear and fresh with plenty of power. It is in exceptional condition and would be fit for a collector or professional musician.
One of the most exceptionally talented and successful luthiers of the 20th century, Marino Capicchioni was a self taught maker whose humble beginnings, like those of Antonio Stradivarius, began in his father’s woodworking shop. His father made wine barrels, carriage wheels, tubs, chairs, wardrobes, all requiring precision and fine craftsmanship. These early experiences were directly transferrable to his interest in violin making.
Originally from the Republic of San Marino, Capicchioni settled in Rimini in 1929. Rimini was home to a vibrant musical scene, which helped his fledgling business, and his burgeoning reputation. In these early years, famous Italian musicians like the violist, Luigi Alberto Bianchi, performed on a Capicchioni instrument. By the late 1950s, his instruments were in the hands of many important musicians, including Helmut Heller, concertmaster of the Hamburg and Berlin Radio Orchestras. Heller was enthusiastic about his Capicchioni violin, and showed it off to all the famous soloists with whom he performed. By the 1960s, Capichioni’s instruments were used by Yehudi Menuhin, David and Igor Oistrakh, the Quartetto Italiano, Salvatore Accardo, and Franco Gulli, among countless others. Capicchioni also won several distinguished prizes, including in Padua, in
1931, in Forli in 1932, and in Cremona in 1937 and 1949.
This instrument is a classic example of his work. It has a full, clear and ringing tone, exceptionally responsive to a wide dynamic range, and nuanced in every tonal aspect. The workmanship is typically precise and bold of character. This instrument would be excellent any professional musician looking for a fine instrument, as it would be for a collector.
Joseph & Antonio Gagliano
Naples c. 1790. Giuseppe studied with his father Niccolo, then worked on his own. He later joined with his brother Antonio, working until about 1800. This violin represents an excellent value in a violin by this extremely important family. It is certified by Charles Beare of London. This violin has a very fine full rich tone with great depth.
Milan, 1926. Musicians from all over the world flocked to Bisiach’s shop. At the time it was one of the most important shops anywhere. The quality of the instruments produced there were the very best. This is an outstanding example with a responsive tone with depth and character.
Born into a woodworking family in 1879, it was not until Pedrazzini was in his mid-twenties, when he moved to Milan, that he began violin making. Originally self taught, he worked with Romeo Antoniazzi before setting up his own workshop. A maker of exceptional skill, Pedrazzini won several prizes, including gold in The National Violin Making Competition in Rome, 1920. Among his posts, he was the luthier to the prestigious Milan Conservatory and supplier to the Toscanini Orchestra. He also taught Ferdinando Garimberti, among others. This violin is branded internally, and is a characteristic example of his later work. It is easy to play and has a typical 20th century Italian sound.
Lille, 1902. Joseph Hel trained with Sebastien Vuillaume, Salzard and Darche before setting up on his own in Lille at the age of 23. He was appointed official luthier to the Lille Conservatory, a post he passed on to his son. He also won several prizes in international exhibitions, including in the United States. He was surprisingly prolific, making by some accounts, over 800 instruments of superior quality. This is one of the last instruments he made and is characteristically attractive, clear and sonorous.
Born into a woodworking family in 1879, it was not until Pedrazzini was in his mid-twenties, that he moved to Milan and began violin making. Originally self-taught, he worked with Romeo Antoniazzi before setting up his own workshop. A maker of exceptional skill, Pedrazzini won several prizes, including gold in The National Violin Making Competition in Rome, 1920. Among his posts, he was the luthier to the prestigious Milan Conservatory and supplier to the Toscanini Orchestra. He also taught Ferdinando Garimberti, among others. This violin is a Guadagnini copy, but rather than a slavish copy, is inspired by Guadagnini. The varnish has been generously applied and, typical of his early instruments, has a beautiful craquelure. The tone is crisp, clear, and sweet.
Mantua, 1951. Gaetano Gadda was the only student of the great Stefano Scarampella and his instruments show many of the qualities of his master. This fine violin was made during his best period after he had broken away from his master's style and had found his own way. The tone is brilliant and quite responsive and is in superb condition.
Florence, 1921. A student of his younger brother Serafino Casini, Lapo was mostly known as an expert restorer in his native Florence. He built instruments on his own model. He was particularly interested in classical varnish recipes, later publishing a book on the subject. This violin, made in 1921, is a fine example of his unique style. This violin is accompanied by a Dmitry Gindin certificate.
Carl Becker & Son
Carl Becker Sr. and Carl Jr. are arguably the most famous and influential American makers of the 20th century. Carl Sr. started his career in 1901 and joined the famous firm of William Lewis & Sons in 1924, working there until 1969. Carl Jr. began working in partnership with his father in 1948. Both father and son were well known for their meticulous workmanship. This violin is the second instrument they made with a joint label, numbered 490, and is accompanied by the maker’s certificate and the original bill of sale.
We are pleased to offer this superb violin by Paul Blanchard of Lyon, one of the great 19th century violin makers. Born in Mirecourt, the cradle of French violin making, he began his studies at the age of 15. He subsequently trained with and worked for some of France’s most prominent luthiers, including Darte and Silvestre. At the fresh age of 19 he established his own shop in Lyon, where he had a long and storied career. The most prominent instrument maker in Lyon during his lifetime, he was appointed official luthier to the Lyon Conservatory, the Lyon theaters, and the Lyon orchestra. Made at the height of his ability, this violin is of luminous tonewood dressed in a rich red varnish. It has a vibrant tone and is in excellent condition. It is accompanied by a Moennig certificate.
Fine old French labeled J.B.Vuillaume
Lyon, 1889. We are pleased to offer this superb violin by Paul Blanchard of Lyon, one of the great 19th century violin makers. Born in Mirecourt, the cradle of French violin making, he began his studies at the age of 15. He subsequently trained with and worked for some of France’s most prominent luthiers, including Darte and Silvestre. At the fresh age of 19 he established his own shop in Lyon, where he had a long and storied career. The most prominent instrument maker in Lyon during his lifetime, he was appointed official luthier to the Lyon Conservatory, the Lyon theaters, and the Lyon orchestra. This particular instrument represents the highest grade of Blanchard’s violins, and is signed on the label as having been exhibited at the World’s Fair of 1889 in Paris. It is in near mint condition, with richly translucent varnish covering a gorgeous wood selection. The tone is superb, the instrument easy to play. It would be ideal for a collector, orchestral musician or chamber musician.
Caressa & Français
Paris, 1920. For many decades, the firm of Caressa & Français was perhaps the most important and respected violin dealers in Paris. Many of the most important makers worked there. Musicians and collectors from all over the world came there. This beautiful violin is in wonderful condition and is one of the finest examples from these makers we have ever seen.
Paris 1881. After studying with Galliard, Paul Bailly worked with the great J.B.Vuillaume in Paris. He then worked in other major cities in France, Belgium, England and even in the U.S. He won numerous medals at important competitions. After his travels, he settled in Paris where he had a successful career. His work is esteemed and highly sought after. This beautiful violin would be a great choice for the musician looking for an instrument with a full, warm tone with great richness.
This beautiful violin bears the label of J.F.Pressenda of Turin and was actually certified as a Pressenda by several well-known experts in the early 20th century. It is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity dated from the 1980s from the highly respected expert Dario d’Attilli as the work of George Gemunder, New York circa 1850. Gemunder was born and trained in Germany, worked for J.B.Vuillaume in Paris before coming to America to work with his brother August. He established his own shop in 1852, when he was producing his best work.
Ernst Heinrich Roth
Ernst Heinrich Roth set up his workshop in Bubenreuth and Erlangen in 1953 having been forced out of Communist East Germany after WWII. They became one of the largest workshops in Germany, producing exceptional instruments. This violin is illustrated in the April 2017 issue of The Strad in an article about the founding of Bubenreuth written by Ifshin’s Richard Ward.
Genoa, 1922. In his early years, Cortese was strongly influenced by the great Cesare Candi. He worked in both Milan and Genoa, winning medals at exhibitions in Rome (1952) and Cremona (1949). His primary focus was on tonality.
Venice, 1938. Despite passing away at the young age of 38, Iginio Siega was an important maker of the modern Venetian school. He studied with his father, Ettore Siega, who was a student of the great Eugenio Degani. Even before Iginio took over his father’s workshop he won several prizes in competitions including Rome in 1920 and 1923. He also won the prestigious Vermeil medal in Padua, 1932. This violin is characteristic of his work; spontaneous in craftsmanship and silky in tone
Paris, 1923. A particularly important Parisian violin maker around the turn of the 20th century, Albert Caressa was the luthier to the Paris Conservatory, partner in the prolific firm, Caressa & Francais, and winner of the Legion of Honor in 1910. With Caressa & Francais, he won prizes in 1905, and was judged at exhibitions in Milan in 1906, London in 1908, Brussels in 1910, and Liege in 1911. This instrument is a classic example of his work and is in nearly mint condition. It has a ringing tone with excellent color.
Bordeaux, 1900, no. 99. Resuche worked for famous shops both in Paris (Gand & Bernardel) and Lyon (Diter) before establishing his own shop in Bordeaux. This beautifully made violin has a full, rich tone.
Gennaro De Luccia
Miami, 1976. Gennaro De Luccia came from a large family of violin makers that spanned three generations. He came to America in 1951 and worked at the famous Rembert Wurlitzer shop along with his brother Vincenzo plus some of the best makers of the mid 20th. century. This violin was dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi, according to the maker’s internal inscription.
Turin, 2006. Ada Quaranta’s instrument are in great demand because of their great quality. She studied at the Cremona school beginning in 1990 after receiving her diploma in violin performance. After graduation, she worked in some of the most important shops in Germany and France. She has won numerous awards for her work. We are pleased to be able to offer this fine example of her work.
Ravenna, 1976. Cavalazzi was a student of Domenico Veggi and established his workshop in the late 1920’s. A highly respected maker, he also did extensive research in varnish chemistry. This violin has a full, warm tone of great quality.
Bologna. 1984. Magrini has become one of the most important makers of the Bologna school and this violin displays the best of the elegance and craftsmanship of the Bologna makers. This violin is a reproduction of a violin by Ansaldo Poggi.
Buenos Aires, early 20th century. Rovatti studied with Enrico Ceruti before emigrating to Buenos Aires in 1885 where he joined many other fine Italian makers who were encouraged to move to Argentina. This violin has a brilliant, responsive tone.
Possibly by George Gemunder
Los Angeles, 1964.
A violin prodigy in youth, Frosali graduated from the Florence Conservatory in 1908. He learned violin making from Giuseppe Scarampella, and proved to be an excellent student. He moved to New York where he was employed at the important Emil Herman shop, working with Simone Sacconi. He moved to Los Angeles in 1939 where he worked for Wurlitzer. He also managed the Brown violin shop before establishing his own workshop in 1954. Frosali is undoubtedly one of the finest luthiers in California’s history.
Louis Joseph Germain
Paris, 1869. After his apprenticeship in Mirecourt, Louis Germain was the head of the C.F.Gand workshop. He then became a maker in the J.B.Vuillaume workshop which employed the very best makers of the time. This violin was made after opening his own Parisian workshop in 1862. This violin would be a great choice for the accomplished musician looking for a powerful, responsive tone.
Lucca, 2003. Michel Eggimann has become noted for his exquisite copies of the work of Giuseppe Guarneri. Born in Switzerland in 1963, Michel made his first violin in 1982 and graduated from the Cremona violin making school in 1986. He worked with Bissolotti and Curtin & Alf before opening his own workshop in the Tuscan town of Lucca in 1991. This beautiful violin has a rich, warm tone.
Stentor, Nicolas Vuillaume
Mirecourt. The Stentor violins were made in the workshop of Nicolas Vuillaume to be sold in the shop of his brother, J.B. Vuillaume, in Paris, as well as other shops. The demand for the Stentor instruments has been increasing dramatically in recent years due to their excellent workmanship and tone. This example has a powerful, highly responsive, vibrant tone.
Cremona, 1998. Conia studied with Pietro Sgarabotto, G.B. Morassi and Francesco Bissolotti in Cremona. Since his graduation in 1972, he has worked not only as a master luthier, but also as a professor at the International Violin Making School in Cremona, specializing in varnish and restoration techniques. He has also served as a judge in several prestigious violin making competitions. This violin is characterized by a rich, translucent red-brown varnish and a tone to match. With great playability and projection, this instrument would be ideal for a fine violinist.
1951. Orphaned at an early age, Genuzio was the nephew of Carlo Carletti, and worked alongside his cousins, Nullo, Orfeo and Natale in the family workshop. Unlike his cousins, Genuzio focused almost entirely on making instruments, building hundreds over his long working life. Genuzio won a gold medal for a viola in the 1949 Cremona exhibition-competition, cementing his reputation as a master luthier. The Carletti family's instruments, and his instruments in particular, have been quite popular in this country because of the close business relationship with Settin, a major New York dealer. This violin is a particularly attractive example of Genuzio's work, with its beautiful wood selection and craquelure varnish. The sound is rich and sonorous, typical of the "Carletti sound."
Bordeaux, 1909. Résuche worked in Paris with Gand and Bernardel and at Lyon with Justin Diter before settling in Bordeaux in 1897. This attractive violin has a big, full bodied responsive tone.
Mozzani was a guitar prodigy as a youth who began constructing plucked instruments. He opened up a successful workshop making plucked and bowed stringed instruments. The workshop employed several talented luthiers, and received instruction on violin making from the renowned Carletti family. This violin was made after moving to Bologna, where the business thrived. It has a strong, sweet tone.
French, labeled Nicolaus Amatus
From the workshop of N. Vuillaume, Mirecourt.
Nicolas Vuillaume, borther of Jean Baptiste, made fine instruments for his brother as well as for others.
Rome, 1922. Trained as a cabinet maker, Aureli began his activity as a luthier in 1910, when he was 40 years old. Working in Rome, his native city, he won medals at competitions in 1917 and 1919. He produced about 60 violins. This attractive violin is in excellent condition and has a warm, sweet tone.
Robert Beyer’s shop in Berlin employed several top master craftsmen and was one of the most important in that great music capital. Over the years he won a number of awards and medals for his instruments. This unusually beautiful violin has a very full, powerful tone.
Ravenna, 2007. Marco Minnozzi has been making violins for over 25 years. He trained with Renato Scrollavezza in Parma and has worked with V. Nigogosian, Horacio Pineiro, and Rene Morel in New York. His work is sought after all over the world. This beautifully crafted violin has a full, warm tone.
Ashtead, Surrey, 1958. Hardwick was a pupil of George Wulme Hudson. This violin has a brilliant, powerful tone.
Andrea began his career in violin making with his father in Moscow and was already an established maker when he began his studies at the violin making school in Cremona, graduating in 1995. He has won numerous awards at international competitions.
Los Angeles, 1977.
A violin prodigy in youth, Frosali graduated from the Florence Conservatory in 1908. He learned violin making from Giuseppe Scarampella, and proved to be an excellent student. He moved to New York where he was employed at the important Emil Herman shop, working with Simone Sacconi. He moved to Los Angeles in 1939 where he worked for Wurlitzer. He also managed the Brown violin shop before establishing his own workshop in 1954. Frosali is undoubtedly one of the finest luthiers in California’s history. He made about 75 violins, all of very fine quality, inspired largely by Guadagnini, but also Guarneri Del Gesu. This violin was made when he was 91 years old, and is his personal model. Despite his advanced age at the time, the violin sounds bold and quick, with a fresh resonance. It is ideal for a young, upcoming musician.
Carlos Funes Vitanza
San Francisco, 2006. Carlos Funes studied violin making in Cremona at the violin making school and worked in Cremona for a period before returning to San Francisco. Even after many years away from Italy, his instruments show many characteristics of the Cremona School.
Brussels, 1925. After apprenticing with Chevrier in Mirecourt (from age 13) and working at major shops in Paris, Bourguignon went to Brussels and worked with G. Mougenot. He took over his shop in 1910. During his career, he won numerous medals for his work. This violin is in superb condition and has a powerful, brilliant tone.
Cremona, 2012. Since graduating from the school of violin making in Cremona fifteen years ago, Daniele Tonarelli has distinguished himself in a number of competitions around the world. This beautifully crafted violin is in the classic modern Cremona style. The tone is even, warm and clear.
Milan, 2007. Rossi graduated from the Parma school headed by Scrollevezza and has also studied with Greg Alf, Guy Rabut, and Carlos Arcieri in New York before opening his workshop. We have just received this violin and were immediately impressed with the beauty and elegance of the workmanship as well as the tone.
Cremona, 2007. Pedrini began his studies in violin making at the age of 14 in Cremona, winning a prize as the school’s best student in 2000. After studying with Giorgio Cé at the school, he apprenticed with the renowned luthier, Giorgio Grisales. In 2008 he established his own workshop in Cremona. This instrument is easy to play, and has a clear, fresh sound.
Chaumont,1924. Vautrin was a composer and violinist in addition to being a fine luthier. He trained with Chipot-Vuilaume, later heading the workshop of Emile Germain. In 1894 he set up his own shop in Chaumont, France, where he remained until his death in 1937. This violin is typical of his production, with its dark red varnish and Stradivari inspired model. The tone is quite potent, full and warm. It is also in an excellent state of preservation, looking like it just left his workshop.
Mattia Paolo Riva
Varese, 2008. We recently met this gifted maker and were very impressed with his work. This striking violin has a lustrous red-orange varnish. The tone is also impressive, powerful, brilliant, and tremendously responsive.
Scrollavezza & Zanré
Parma, 2007. Elisa's father Renato Scrollavezza founded the famous violin making school in Parma so she was deeply involved in the world of violin making from childhood. In 2002, Elisa formed a partnership with Andrea Zanré, also a Scrollavezza student. In their workshop in the historic center of Parma, they concentrate on making new instruments along with training the next generation of violin makers. Mr. Ifshin just chose three violins from their selection and we are delighted with them. We also chose two of the violins made in their Parma workshop under their direction which represent an excellent value.
Cremona, 2008. Borja comes from Madrid, but started his training in violin making in the U.S. He moved to Cremona to study at the violin making school. After graduation, he worked with Silvio Levaggi and Alberto Giordano before establishing his own workshop. In 2006, Borja won two silver medals for a violin and viola at the Violin Society of America competition in Baltimore.
Madrid, 1967. Fernando Solar is considered one of the most important Spanish makers of the 20th century. His instruments are known for their full, rich tone. This violin is a fine and characteristic example of his work.
Cremona, 2014. Ferrari graduated from the Cremona violin making school ten years ago and has worked with Massimo Negroni and Elio Severgnini. He works both in Cermona and Madrid. We picked this violin from our last Cremona exhibition.
A few years ago, Mr. Ifshin met this gifted maker in Europe and was most impressed with his work. He is clearly one of the most talented makers of his generation. He studied with Scrollavezza at the school in Parma. We currently have a selection of Marcello's violins.
Cremona, 2000. Nolli, like many of the top Cremona makers, was fortunate to have been at the school when Stefano Conia and Giorgio Scolari were teaching there. Since graduation, he has won numerous medals at competitions all over Italy and has launched a very successful career. This violin is now a few years old and has been "played in." The tone is smooth, clear and responsive.
Canossa, 2006. Virgoletti is the son of a woodworker and lute maker and was introduced to violin making by Ferdinando Garimberti. After making several violins, he began a ten-year apprenticeship with Sesto Rocchi. Starting in 1993 he began working with the Bisollottis (both father and son).
Heinrich Th. Heberlein
Markneukirchen, 1908. Though the Heberlein workshop produced many instruments, they maintained high standards of quality, both in workmanship and tone. Made while Heberlein Jr. still ran the shop, this instrument is a classic example of his high level, commercial output. He won several medals in the late 19th century for his violins, and was well regarded during his lifetime and beyond. This violin has a strong, clear, resonant sound.
Mirecourt, 1889. This beautiful violin has Barbe's characteristic leaf inlay in each corner. It is in superb condition and has an excellent tone.
Ernst Heinrich Roth
The town of Markneukirchen in Saxony has been famous for violin making since the mid 1600s when the first violin making guild was formed. By the late 1800s more than a quarter of a million string instruments a year were being shipped all over the world with almost half the production coming to the U.S. After WWI, production in Markneukirchen dropped significantly but the companies that remained started to concentrate on the making of higher quality instruments. At the beginning of the 1920s. Ernst Heinrich Roth I (1877-1948) took over the operation of the Roth family firm and began to produce violins of exceptional quality. These fine violins were so popular in America that Ernst Heinrich sent his son Ernst Heinrich II (1890-1961) to this country to represent the firm. By the 1930’s, production decreased due to the rise of Nazism and the war. In spite of that, we still see fine Roth violins from the 30’s and even the late 40’s. Under Communist rule, the firm was taken over by the government and their building confiscated. In 1953, the business was re-established in Bubenreuth, West Germany and they began production of high quality violins, violas, cellos and bows.
Today, Ernst Heinrich Roth violins from the 1920’s are in great demand because of their exceptional quality and are increasing in value. Although originally the 1920s Roth violins were made in 13 different quality grades (reproductions of works of famous Cremonese violins by Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati), there is actually little difference in the different models in terms of quality. Some of these violins are labeled Eugen Meinel and are similar to the Roth violins and have comparable value. We have always searched for Roth violins from the 1920s and usually will have several examples available.
Possibly Stockport, England, latter 19th century. Craske was a very prolific maker who worked anonymously for much of his career. After he died, W.E. Hill & Sons purchased and labeled all of his instruments. None of these instruments are dated. The workmanship of Craske's instruments can vary a great deal. This is one of the best examples we have seen. The tone is warm and rich.
Saeid & Shahram Rezvani
Over the last 25 years the brothers Rezvani have made more than 500 violins, violas, and cellos. They began their studies in Iran with Ibrahim Ghambari Mehr, ex-student of the Parisian master, Etienne Vatelot, and later in Vienna with Johann Rombach. They continue perfecting their art as members of the Violin Society of America, working with such masters as Joseph Curtain. Now based in Los Angeles, they produce excellent instruments. Their work is very characteristic, resonant and sweet, easy to play, rich in tone color. We are very fortunate to have several of their instruments at this time, perfect for a young musician.
Mangenot worked for several important luthiers in France, including Justin Derazey, Collin-Mezin, and Hel. In 1888 he took over the Derazey workshop, which owned the rights to the D. Nicolas Ainé and Honoré Derazey labels. After 1920, Mangenot only made instruments with his own label, including this one. This violin is one of the best Mangenots we have seen, and is in superb condition. The workmanship is elegant with a rich orange-red varnish. The tone is sweet and enticing, ideal for chamber music
Cremona, 2010. A talented young maker, Fanfani studied with Angelo Sperzaga at the International School of Violin making in Cremona. After graduating in 2003, he worked in the shop of Sperzaga. In 2011 he opened up his own shop in Piacenza. This violin was made while working with his master, and has a clear, even, ringing tone.
Fabrizio Di Pietrantonio
Livorno, 2004. Born in Livorno in 1964, Pietrantonio worked with several important makers who trained him in the traditions of the Bisiach family and especially Igino Sderci. This violin is a reproduction of the model of J.B. Guadagnini and has a wonderful, rich tone of great character.
Modena, 1974. Born in 1905, Merighi was a self taught maker, constructing violins based on the models of the Cremonese school. This violin was made when he was nearly 70 years old, and is characteristic of his rustic charm.
Otto Paulus was one of the finest luthiers of the long established Paulus family of Markneukirchen. He studied with his brother, Albin Ludwig Paulus Jr. before setting up on his own in 1904, passing his master’s examination in 1914. This collector’s quality violin is pictured in “Vogtländscher Geigenbau” by Zoebisch, the most important book on violin making in the Markneukirchen area. The tone is brilliant, nuanced, and responsive.
Neufchâteau, mid 19th Century, labeled Gaspar da Salo. A great violin for the musician looking for an instrument with a full, dark, rich tone.
Mantua, 1998. Son and pupil of Bruno Barbieri, Silvio is a direct inheritor of the Mantuan tradition. His father was strongly influenced by Scarampella and Ornatti. This violin is exquisitely crafted and is in perfect condition.
Although little is known about this obviously talented maker, this violin exhibits a great deal of skill with a French influence. There are interesting handwritten inscriptions inside referring to an important event in Irish history.
Fine old German
This elegant, 200 year old violin is a unique example of German work in excellent condition. It has a rich, dark tone with plenty of power.
We felt that this violin was a standout from our most recent Cremona Show and decided to buy it for our collection. Marianne Jost is from Switzerland and started her training at the Cremona school of violin making in 1993, graduating in 1997. She also worked with a number of master teachers like Vicenzo and Francesco Bissolotti and Giovanni Lucci for bow making. She has won a number of awards over the years. This beautifully crafted violin has a big, brilliant responsive tone.
Trabucchi graduated from the Cremona International School of Violin making in 1988, at the young age of 18. At the school he studied with Massimo Negroni and Stefano Conia, before apprenticing with Marco Nolli for four years. Since 1992 he has had his own shop in the historic center of Cremona. He has won numerous prizes for the high level of his work. This violin is a fine example of his art. It is light in the hand, easy to play and produces a brilliant, colorful tone.
Branded “E.H.Superior”, Emil Herrmann workshop
Berlin, early 20th century. Emil Hermann was one of the most important violin dealers in Berlin, later opening a shop in New York in 1924. Among his clients was Jascha Heifetz, who purchased his famous Guarneri Del Gesú in 1922. Among his employees were great luthiers like Simone Sacconi and Mario Frosali. Hermann acquired fine violins from the best luthiers in Germany to sell in his shop. This particular instrument was made for and sold by Hermann, and is in new condition, looking as if it was recently made. It has an exceptional tone, full and powerful.
Angers, 1952. Son of a violin repairman, Jean Bauer trained with Marius Didier in Mattaincourt before settling in Le Havre, Normandy, in 1936. With the turbulence of the Nazi occupation, Bauer moved to Angers, where he spent the rest of his celebrated career. He was highly decorated for his instruments at competitions in Paris in 1929, 1931 and 1937, Toulouse, in 1931 Angers, in 1942, and The Hague, in 1949. This violin is made on his own model, at the height of his abilities, with characteristically stellar workmanship and beautiful red-orange varnish. The instrument is in superb condition. The tone is vibrant and rich, at once nuanced and powerful.
Markneukirchen. The G.A.Pfretzschner workshop in Markneukirchen is best known for their fine bows, but also produced exceptional string instruments as well. This beautiful violin has a truly fine tone.
Albin Ludwig Paulus Jr
1935. After WWI, violin making in Markneukirchen started focusing on higher quality “Art Violins” rather than less expensive student work. This violin is an excellent example of these fine instruments. Albin Paulus studied with Dölling and established independently while still in his 20s and continued until 1946. Tonally, this violin is powerful, brilliant and responsive.
1999. After studying at the violin making school in Mittenwald in his native Germany, Kapfhammer moved to Salt Lake City and taught at the violin making school there in the mid 70’s. He has worked primarily in Salt Lake, but also for a number of years in the Bay Area. The tone is powerful, responsive and brilliant.
This exceptional maker worked for a number of important makers including A.Wunderlich, E.Reinhold Schmidt and H.Glass before setting up in his own shop in 1904. This fine violin is illustrated in the important book on Vogtland violin makers by Zoebisch (pp.194-195). It is in superb condition and has a fine tone.
Copy of "Earl" Strad. Herman Geipel’s workshop made superb violins from 1884 when he oponed his own workshop through the 1930’s. We very much like Geipel violins for their workmanship and especially the sound. Geipel was famous for his varnish techniques. His work was popular all over the World and especially in England.
Dieudonné established his workshop in Mirecourt in 1920 and his work became vey popular especially here is the U.S. This violin was made for Charles Enel in Paris as indicated on the label. This violin has a clear, resonant tone of excellent quality and is in superb condition.
1981. Kurt Gütter was one of the finest Markneukirchen makers of his time and did some of his best work during the era of the GDR (Communist East Germany). He studied with some of the best makers of his time including Oskar Heinel, Ludwig Gläsel, Max Schleisinger in Dresden and Heinrich Th. Heberlein before opening his own shop. This fine violin is in almost perfect condition and has an exceptional powerful responsive tone.
Kurt R Zöphel
This violin is pictured on p. 377 in the important book on violin makers of the Markneukirchen area by Zoebisch. Zöphel Is considered one of the best Markneukirchen makers of his generation.
Jules Grandjon worked in Paris and Amsterdam before opening his very successful workshop in Mirecourt in 1850. His work won a number of medals at a number of competitions at Paris and London. This is a beautiful example of his work with a big powerful tone.
S.Polo d’ Enza, 2015. Paolo began his training with his uncle Arturo Virgoletti in 1999. Moving to Cremona, he worked with Elio Severgnini. While there, he had the opportunity to restore fine old instruments and study closely the work of the masters. He worked with master makers in Tokyo and Madrid before opening his own workshop in S.Polo d’Enza near Parma. This beautifully made violin has a full, rich tone with great warmth.
San Jose, CA 1915. Although born in California, Lanini studied in Italy, first with Romeo Antoniazzi and then with Farotti in Milan from 1911 to 1914 before returning to San Jose. This violin is in almost new condition and has many characteristics of the maker's masters.
El Cerrito, 2012. Over the last several years, Haide Lin, who oversees both our repair and restoration workshop and our Jay Haide workshop, has won numerous medals and awards at the Violin Society of America competitions. This exceptional and beautiful violin is modeled afte the work of the great J.B.Vuillaume. Tonally outstanding, this violin has a responsive tone with great depth and complexity.
Giustino Dal Canto
Castelfranco di Sotto (Pisa), 1959.
Markneukirchen, 1935. Herman Geipel’s workshop made superb violins from 1884 when he opened his own workshop through the 1930’s. We very much like Geipel violins for their workmanship and especially the sound. Geipel was famous for his varnish techniques. His work was popular all over the World and especially in England.
Labeled Martinus Mathias, Vienna, 1747
Very typical of 18th century Austrian making, this instrument was constructed on the Stainer model, with high arching and dark varnish. The William Lewis and Son certificate accompanying the violin states that it is characteristic of the Johann Georg Thir School, one of the greatest luthiers of the mid-18th century. Indeed, this old instrument is a good example of Austrian violin making of that time. The tone is dark, warm, and mellow.
Labeled Joannes Baptista Martinelli
Neufchâteau c. late 19th Century. Over the years we have been able to offer several violins from the workshop of the Caussin family. As with this fine example, they are usually reproductions of the classical Italian masters and have excellent tonal qualities.
Pisano (near Milan). We have several examples by this maker. See more detailed information.
K. Lothar Meisel
Owatonna, MN 1969. Kurt Lothar and his father came to this country from Klingenthal, Germany in the early 1950's. They were raised in a famous family of violin makers going back to the late 1700's. Their work has always been highly respected all over the country. This fine example of K. Lothar's work has a powerful, brilliant tone.
Caussin workshop, labeled Januarious Gagliano
Gustave Villaume was born in Mirecourt and studied with Mougenot and Jacquet Gand before going to Paris to work with Caressa & Français. After moving to Nancy, he won numerous awards for his work.
Markneukirchen, 1927. Dürrschmidt founded his workshop in 1887 and it became famous all over the world, especially in this country. This excellent violin has a full, warm tone.
Znaim, Czechoslovakia, 1936.
There were at least eight members of the Kreutzinger family who worked both in both the Schönbach area and over the border in Markneukirchen. This violin is beautifully made and shows the high quality that the best Bohemian makers were capable of and has an excellent tone.
Salt Lake, 1989. Paul Hart is considered one of the key figures in American violin making. In the 1970’s he taught at the Violin Making School of America in Salt Lake. In his classes were those who were to become some of the most important American makers of their generation. He continues to teach violin makers today. This violin shows his exemplary craftsmanship and skill in varnish work. The tone is brilliant and powerful.
Catania, 1923. This violin by Puglisi is an excellent value in a quality Italian violin. The tone is warm and surprisingly responsive.
Fine old German
Labeled Joseph Guarnerius Saxony c. 1890
1927. This beautiful violin represents Gütter's best work. It is in exceptional condition and has a wonderful tone.
Heinrich Th. Heberlein Jr.
Markneukirchen, 1926. A very nice example from the Heberlein workshop, this violin is in excellent condition and has a big, powerful tone.
Ernst Heinrich Roth
Bubenreuth-Erlangen, c.1964. This is an unusually fine example from the famous Roth Workshop and is in very fine condition.
Fine old French, branded Thouvenel
After graduating from the Violin making school of America in Salt Lake, Erich Schweiger joined Michael Becker Violins in the Chicago area, soon becoming shop foreman. The year after this violin was made he moved to the Seattle area where he continues to make string instruments. This beautifully made violin has a powerful, brilliant tone.
Denver, 1924, #316. Born in Sweden, Hennig worked in Miami, Denver (1920-1928) and Seattle. His work is highly respected for workmanship and the quality of his varnish.
John Albert who emigrated from Freiburg, Germany in 1848, took over the shop of Matthias Keller in Philadelphia in 1857. The firm was continued by the family into the 1930’s. This beautifully made violin has a nice brilliant tone and is in excellent condition.
Julius Heinrich Zimermann
Zimermann worked in many locations, including Moscow, St Petersburg and Riga as well as Markneukirchen beginning in 1908. This attractive violin is in superb condition and has a powerful, brilliant tone.
Budapest. Horvath is an interesting young maker who has had success in various international competitions. This violin has a brilliant, responsive tone.
Oakland, 1914. The Aschow family were the most important makers and dealers in the San Francisco East Bay area for almost 70 years, closing in 1969. John was born in Denmark and studied at the violin making school in Mittenwald before coming to this country at the beginning of the last century.
Frankfurt an der Oder, 1890. Julius Altrichter had an important workshop making fine violins and bows for many years. This violin is in excellent condition and has a big, brilliant tone.
Oakland, 1915. The Aschow family were the most important makers and dealers in the San Francisco East Bay area for almost 70 years, closing shop in 1969. John was born in Denmark and studied at the violin making school in Mittenwald before coming to this country at the beginning of the last century.
Markneukirchen, 1922. Made for William Lewis and Son, Chicago.
Made for Rudolph Wurlitzer, Chicago, 1913
French, Labeled J.B.Vuillaume
French, Labeled Jean-Baptiste Colin
Ernst Heinrich Roth
Markneukirchen, Amati model.
Neuner & Hornsteiner
Mittenwald , copy of A & H Amati
Model 66, Bubenreuth, 2008
“Primiata Liuteria Italiana”
Cremona, 2014. This beautifully made violin represents an exceptional value in a handcrafted Italian violin.
Labeled Antonius Stradivarius
Aubert workshop, Vuillaume model
Mirecourt. This violin is in excellent condition with a big, bright sound.
German, latter 19th Century
Forcheim, 2012. Model 703
Jay Haide, á l'ancienne
Jay Haide, à l'ancienne. Our latest reproduction in the à l'ancienne series is of a Tomasso Balestrieri from the Ifshin collection. These instruments are enjoyed by advanced students and have recently become possible as a nice sounding alternative for professional players that do not want to travel with more expensive instruments.
New! We have an exciting addition to the à l'ancienne collection. This is our "Special Model" made with aged European wood.
(Click here for further information on our Jay Haide instruments.)
The Monza, Bubenreuth, Germany. This newly introduced model from the famous Heinrich Gill firm has an excellent full warm tone.
Bulgaria, model VP1.
The Kremona workshop has been in operation in Bulgaria since 1922. These instruments have been popular with our customers in recent years. We feel that they are among the best and most affordable violins available from Eastern Europe.
The popular Jay Haide 104 model is an excellent choice for an intermediate to advanced student.
Bulgaria, model VP3.
Jay Haide, Model 101. This fully handmade instrument is an excellent choice for a promising player on a budget.
(Click here for further information on our Jay Haide instruments.)
Wernitzgrün, Models 93MT and 98AP.
For the past 25 years, we have been offering the Alois Sandner instruments from Bubenreuth Germany and have always been delighted with the quality.
"Alosa" model #8120.
The Alosa from Alois Sandner is the best value we have ever found in a well made European violin.
The Borceto is our most affordable violin. Hand made in our workshop and set up here in El Cerrito, this violin offers a wonderful value for the beginning violinist.
We also have a fine selection of violin bows by such makers as: Victor Fetique, Emile Ouchard, W. E. Hill & Sons, Cuniot-Hury, Roger Gerome, Vidoudez, Morizot, Marcel Lapierre, Albert Nurnberger, G.A., H.R. and F.C. Pfretzschner, F. Daugin, Morgan Andersen and many more. Please see our Fine Bow page for a full listing.
Of course, our collection of fine violins is always changing. We strongly recommend that you call before you come in, to see what instruments are available for you to try.