Tarisio's auction of the "Baltic" del Gesù violin, made circa 1731.It's pretty rare for a Guarneri del Gesù violin to hit the auction block, but that's what is happening March 16 with
Alongside Antonio Stradivari, Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù is considered one of the finest violin-makers in history, whose remaining instruments are valued in the millions of dollars.
Stradivari was born in 1644, about a half-century before Guarneri del Gesù, and both makers practiced their craft in their hometown of Cremona, Italy. But while some 650 Stradivari violins have survived the ages, only about 150 Guarneri del Gesù violins remain, making them even rarer.
Tarisio estimating that the "Baltic" violin will fetch a price in excess of $10 million.
"The museum-quality status of the ‘Baltic’ derives as much from its historical significance as its remarkable quality and excellent state of preservation," writes Tarisio. "In 1731, around the time the violin was crafted by hand, the 32-year-old Giuseppe – referred to as 'del Gesù' by historians to better distinguish him from his father Giuseppe – had struck out on his own after his father’s retirement and began to break with long-established practices established by his grandfather, father and uncle. With its shorter body length, broader wings, and distinct ‘hatchet-shaped’ sound-holes, the ‘Baltic’ is among the first violins to bear the hallmarks of del Gesù’s signature style, and marks the start of a new era of excellence for the Guarneri name."
The instrument was most recently owned by the Lam family, having been bought in 1979 by businessman, violin collector and music patron Sau-Wing Lam. Born in Shanghai, Lam, studied music and played viola in a theater orchestra. After graduating from university, he moved to Hong Kong and then to New York in 1948 to establish the U.S. presence for the Dah Chong Hong Trading Corporation. Under DCH’s umbrella, he opened successful automobile
dealerships across the country.
He was a lifelong supporter of classical music, and he and his wife, Jean, supported numerous young musicians with sponsorship and instrument loans. Chinese cellist Jian Wang attended Yale School of Music with the Lam family’s support, and Wang has played a cello loaned to him by the Lam family throughout his four-decade career.
The "Baltic" del Gesù was exhibited at New York’s Metropolitan Museum in 1994 as part of a curated exhibition of 25 exceptional Guarneri instruments, then again in 2012/13, for an exhibition and concert series dedicated to Lam’s collection of fine Italian stringed instruments and French bows.
If you are thinking of spending your family fortune on this violin or just want to learn more about it, here is the link.
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