George Gemunder I
(1816 – 1899)
German–American violin maker George (originally Georg) Gemünder worked for J.B. Vuillaume in Paris before moving to New York in 1847. He first established himself in Manhattan and worked there until 1874, when he moved to Astoria, Queens, which at the time was quite removed from the bustle of his previous neighborhood. Business ...Read More suffered as a result, and in 1886 Gemünder opened a second location in Manhattan managed by his son, George Jr. Whatever success that was recouped by this move was short-lived, as Gemünder suffered a stroke in 1889 and rapidly deteriorated, leaving the family bankrupt upon his death in 1899.
Gemünder's German origins and French training appear in equal measure to the American characteristics of his work. He considered his Stradivari copies, which are beautifully antiqued in the Vuillaume style, to be his finest examples, though his Guarneri copies are also highly valued. Overall his work is clean and precise, the arching low but full, and represents the peak of American violin making in the late 19th century. His instruments bear various labels and brands, and are sometimes signed.
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