The 1714 "da Vinci, ex-Seidel" Stradivari was sold on Thursday for $15.34 million, a price for a Strad violin that is second only to the "Lady Blunt" Strad, sold in 2011 for $15.9 million. Both violins were sold through Tarisio Auctions.
During the 1920s Seidel toured across the United States, Europe and Australia, then in the early 30s became a radio and studio performer, hosting the weekly radio show The Toscha Seidel Program and working as CBS’s musical director. While living in New York he met Albert Einstein and gave him violin lessons. The two performed the Bach Double at a fundraiser to benefit German-Jewish scientists imperiled by the Nazis.
Seidel moved to California in the mid 30s and played as a soloist and concertmaster for Paramount Studios. He was the uncredited violin soloist in "The Wizard of Oz" (1939). Seidel also worked with composer Erich Korngold and was friends with Charlie Chaplin, playing duets with him at his house. After World War II, Seidel taught at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music.
BELOW: Seidel plays Korngold's "Much Ado About Nothing," Op. 11: III. Intermezzo. Garden Scene:
As for the violin, Seidel bought it on April 27, 1924 for $25,000, as documented by The New York Times.
After Seidel's death, the "da Vinci" Strad was sold to Muriel Rubin (1917–2014), a violinist from Toronto who studied at the Eastman School of Music and later settled in Los Angeles. Rubin was an active studio musician and a longtime supporter of the Young Musician’s Foundation in LA.
In 1974, it was sold at auction at Sotheby’s. In 2007 it was acquired by Tokuji Munetsugu and became part of the Munetsugu Collection of Nagoya, Japan. In his retirement, Munetsugu devoted himself to philanthropic efforts centered around classical music. His non-profit organization, Yellow Angel, provides music instruments to schools in the Aichi prefecture. The Munetsugu Angel Violin Competition takes place every three years and awards the winner with the loan of a fine instrument. The Munetsugu Hall in Nagoya presents several hundred classical concerts per year, making it one of the largest venues for classical music in Japan.
According to Tarisio, this auction was the first time the violin was publicly offered for sale since 1974.
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