Ifshin Violins
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.
Over $20,000

Jean Baptiste Vuillaume

<a name="vuillaume17290"> </a>Jean Baptiste Vuillaume

Paris, 1873

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.

Scroll frontWhen 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.

Millant CertificationMade 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

Andrea Postacchini

Andrea Postacchini

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.

Carlo Giuseppe Testore

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.

Francois Louis Pique

 Francois Louis Pique

Paris, 1806. 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.

Leandro Bisiach

Leandro Bisiach

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.

Vincenzo Carcassi

Vincenzo Carcassi

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.

Marino Capicchioni

Marino Capicchioni

Rimini, 1967. 

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.

Carlo Antonio Testore

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.

Orfeo Carletti

Orfeo Carletti

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.

Joseph & Antonio Gagliano

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.

Charles Adolphe Gand

Charles Adolphe Gand

Paris, 1852. 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.

Leandro Bisiach

Leandro Bisiach

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.

Joseph Hel

Joseph Hel

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.

Giuseppe Pedrazzini

Giuseppe Pedrazzini

Milan, 1928. 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.

Giuseppe Pedrazzini

Giuseppe Pedrazzini

Milan, 1949. 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.

Lapo Casini

Lapo Casini

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 & Son

Chicago, 1948. 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.

Paul Blanchard

Paul Blanchard

Lyon, 1899. 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

Fine old French labeled J.B.Vuillaume

Caressa & Français

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.

Paul Bailly

Paul Bailly

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.

George Gemunder

George Gemunder

c. 1850. 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.

Andrea Cortese

Andrea Cortese

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.

Iginio Siega

Iginio Siega

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

Albert Caressa

<a name="Caressa19524"></a>Albert Caressa

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.

Charles Résuche

Charles Résuche

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

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.

Ada Quaranta

Ada Quaranta

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.

Antonino Cavalazzi

Antonino Cavalazzi

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.

Cesare Magrini

Cesare Magrini

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.

Luigi Rovatti

Luigi Rovatti

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.

Labeled Vuillaume

Labeled Vuillaume

Possibly by George Gemunder

Mario Frosali

Mario Frosali

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

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.

Michel Eggimann

Michel Eggimann

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

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.

Stefano Conia

Stefano Conia

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.

Barbé

Barbé

Mirecourt, 1889. This beautiful violin has Barbe's characteristic leaf inlay in each corner. It is in superb condition and has an excellent tone.