Author Topic: Cremonese Violin Identification Expertise (Guarneri family)  (Read 2225 times)

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Offline jt

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Cremonese Violin Identification Expertise (Guarneri family)
« on: January 23, 2013, 09:12:56 AM »
Some years ago, eager to make new friends and explore different avenues of learning from those whom I once thought to be truly learned professionals; I decided to email a high profile 'internationally known violin expert' in Europe. After exchanging a few pleasantries, I then made an overture to sell to his 'organization' a very nice violin for a reasonable price. Almost instantly the man's attitude changed and the present writer was severely rebuffed.

Not certain why this happened, I humbly and respectfully asked to receive 'instruction' from this highly learned one.  He then sent me digital images of a very fine violin, saying it had been offered to him but was 'beyond reach' at the time.  The gentleman also complained that, "he could not see the maker's hand" and asked if I might be able to identify the maker...which I promptly did and replied with photographic proof of same.

Later on I received 3 rather low resolution color images of another violin, again with the complaint of not being able to identify the maker and again asked if I could do so...which I did...again. He promptly responded saying that I had not the least idea of how to identify any sort of instrument, especially the 18th century Cremonese.

Disappointed and quite dis-illusioned, I almost began to despair of ever accomplishing my mission:
To become proficient at what I love doing almost more than living life itself.

However, being an old United States Marine, I just couldn't seem to make myself qive up, turn around, walk away and never look back.
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The purpose of this thread is to demonstrate photographically the reasons why I couldn't quit.
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The first violin I was asked to identify turned out to be the 1737 Guarneri del Gesu, ex-"Fritz Kriesler".
That was a piece of cake. [Edit: 12:32 PM CST Jan.25, 2013] Please see attachments of front and back views.
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The second violin I was asked to identify was automatically a case known as 'double blind' assessment.
Other images to follow...
« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 06:16:25 AM by jt »
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self evident." ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Offline jt

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Re: Cremonese Violin Identification Expertise (Guarneri family)
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2013, 09:21:40 AM »
The first montage depicts the back of the 2nd violin I was asked to identify.
The b&w image in the second montage depicts the first violin I found with a back of nearly matching figure.
Interestingly, the violin to the left is supposed to have been identified (in Italy during the early 1900's) as a 1735-36 period 'del Gesu', known as the ex-"Molini", which is the last name of the Italian college professor who used to own it.  This second montage I sent sometime ago to the 'expert', but never received a response.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 07:44:09 PM by jt »
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self evident." ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Offline jt

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Re: Cremonese Violin Identification Expertise (Guarneri family)
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2013, 11:12:45 AM »
[EDITED: Feb. 17, 2013 10:01 PM CST]
As time passed I stopped looking for other matches for this violin, as all known resources published and accessible online had been exhausted. Some instruments, at first glance, seemed to be potential candidates but nothing suited the eye. Then, having learned that the online source I visited most often had acquired the now defunct [Jacques Francais] and W. E. Hill & Sons photographic data bases, my research resumed.

Certain details in the curves of the back outline, though not readily (clearly) visible in the grainy small color photographs, seemed as if they had imprinted themselves in my memory. [Now there is another 'photo archive', Violin Watch (so-called) based out of China or maybe Taiwan, wherein I first saw the set of images which I recognized as the same one in the images sent to me. This set was in a section which I later discovered corresponded with the images from the Jacques Francais archives.]


After downloading the set, I began to create montages until each frame of the respective backs were of the exact same size while attempting to place each image in the same position, horizontally and vertically, within each frame: even though in the more recent color image the back of the violin was standing more to the vertical; while the older b&w image showed the back leaning away from the camera.

The first montage is the final result of superimposing one frame over the other.

The second montage depicts the backs side by side.
As can be seen they are one and the same.  :)

You betcha!!
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 05:04:17 AM by jt »
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self evident." ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Offline jt

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Re: Cremonese Violin Identification Expertise (Guarneri family)
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2013, 01:13:58 AM »
Here are the 3 (unedited) original images of the violin which the 'world renowned expert' asked me to identify.
Again, I did so while naming the maker with unerring accuracy under complete double blind conditions. FULL STOP

I guess that man (and a host of others of the same ilk) haven't the sense to comprehend the fact that no one has to be "a recognized expert" to become expert at recognizing an old Cremona fiddle, even from photographs.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 01:39:35 PM by jt »
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self evident." ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Offline jt

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Re: Cremonese Violin Identification Expertise (Guarneri family)
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2013, 05:13:53 AM »
These montages are posted in the sequence they were downloaded, of which all appear to be the same set, but two seem to have been slightly brightened for better clarity.

Note: I have added the name of the maker to the caption of the first montage, downloaded from "Violin Watch".
[EDIT: Feb. 20, 2013 4:29 PM CST]
Here's the (non encrypted) link to the image:  http://pic.violinwatch.com/uploadfile/2010/0406/15151.jpg

The last two are from the Jacque Francais archives, courtesy of www.cozio.com.

The violin [Cozio ID 9588] is purported to be by Andreas Guarneri, from the year 1664.
Based on the images sent by the 'world renowned expert' I estimated the violin to be circa 1672-73.
What is nine years out of three hundred and forty nine, when challenged with a double blind indentification?

Case closed...at least for now.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 11:35:21 PM by jt »
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self evident." ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Offline Henrig

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Re: Cremonese Violin Identification Expertise (Guarneri family)
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 09:54:50 AM »
John, you have done a good job!

Henri