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 achieved 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. It is accompanied by a certificate from Jean-Jacque Rampal from 2020.