The ‘ex-Perlman, Klausner’ Peter Guarneri of Venice will be sold this week. In anticipation, we have prepared a small round-up of the five most important instruments of the maestro’s career, the two Stradivari, the Guarneri ‘del Gesù’, the Bergonzi and the Peter Guarneri of Venice.
In anticipation of Thursday’s sale of the ‘ex-Perlman, Klausner’ Peter Guarneri of Venice, we prepared a small round-up of the five main instruments of Itzhak Perlman’s career: the two Stradivari, the Guarneri ‘del Gesù’, the Bergonzi and the Peter Guarneri of Venice.
Pietro Guarneri, Venice, c. 1750, ‘ex-Perlman, Klausner’
Itzhak Perlman purchased this violin from Wurlitzers in 1959 and it saw many of the violinist’s important early achievements. As Perlman wrote in 1988, “I used this violin for many firsts in my career. I used it the first time I studied the Brahms Violin Concerto, for my first performance of the Glazunov at the Meadowmount Summer School, as well as for my first performance of the Debussy Quartet.”
During the 1930s, the violin was owned by Gustave Tinlot, a violin professor at the Eastman School of Music, and then in the 40s and 50s by Millard Taylor, the concertmaster of the Rochester Symphony. After Perlman it came into the possession of Owen Neff of Kansas City, Missouri, and in 1998 it was acquired by Tiberius Klausner, the acclaimed concertmaster, teacher and chamber musician.
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Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, 1714, ‘General Kyd, Perlman’
This iconic Stradivari from 1714 takes its name from General Alexander Kyd, a British officer with the East India Company at the turn of the 19th century. Along with this Stradivari, General Kyd owned several important instruments including the 1734 ‘Spagnoletti’ ‘del Gesù’. In 1928 the Hills sold the ‘General Kyd, Perlman’ to the violinist Bernard Sinsheimer, a professor at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris.
Perlman concertised on this violin starting in the mid-1960s and it can be heard on numerous recordings from this time. After Perlman, it was owned by a patron of the Stradivari Society in Chicago and then later by the Italian soloist Uto Ughi until 1992. The following year, the violin was acquired by the important American collector David L. Fulton. In 2009 it changed hands again and is currently part of another significant collection.
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Carlo Bergonzi, Cremona, c.1733-35, ‘Kreisler, Perlman’
In 1776 Count Cozio noted in his Carteggio that this violin was owned by Carlo Bergonzi’s son-in-law, Giovanni Battista Cabrinetti. According to Cozio, it was one of at least five Bergonzi violins in Cabrinetti’s possession. Before the end of the 19th century it had made its way to England where it was sold by the W. E. Hill & Son firm four times in eighty years, including to the distinguished collectors Baron Johan Knoop and Richard Baker. In 1939 the Hills sold it for the last time to Fritz Kreisler who immigrated to America that same year. From Kreisler it passed through Wurlitzers to the Cuban American violinist Angel Reyes. Perlman owned and performed on the violin for much of the 1980s, before it was acquired, in 1987, by Ruben Gonzalez, the concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In 1995, it passed to David L. Fulton, and now is held in the collection of the Norwegian Foundation, Dextra Musica.
Perlman first saw the ‘Soil’ when he was 23 years old. It belonged, at the time, to the American soloist, Yehudi Menuhin. Visiting Menuhin, Perlman asked if he could try the violin and, after playing two notes, he knew “that was it.” Perlman requested that, in the unlikely event it was ever put up for sale, to please let him know.
The violin has an illustrious history. In 1859 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume sold it to Monsieur Massaloff of Moscow who had purchased it for his daughter. Less than two decades later, in 1874 Massaloff sold the violin to Amédée Joseph Soil, an amateur musician and the Belgian consul in Moscow. Soil may have been an amateur, but he was, according to the Hills, gifted and played like a professional. In 1911 Caressa & Français sold the ‘Soil’ to Oscar Bondy, an affluent art collector from Vienna who owned sugar factories in Czechoslovakia. Bondy left Vienna after Austria was annexed by Germany and immigrated to New York. The ‘Soil’ was among the few personal effects he brought with him. The violin was purchased by J. Franck Otwell, an amateur violinist and collector who worked for DuPont in 1946.
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Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri ‘del Gesù’, Cremona, 1743, ‘Sauret’
In 2005 Perlman told The Strad magazine that the ‘Soil’ Stradivari was the instrument he used in the winter, but in the summer, he switched to his ‘del Gesù’, the ‘Sauret’. This elegant late period Guarneri was named for the eminent french violinist Emile Sauret who owned it from 1897 until his death in 1920; afterward, it became the property of a few collectors, including John P. Sheridan of Liverpool before making its way to the United States. There it became part of the collection of Ralph Hubbard Norton, an industrialist from Chicago and the founder of the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida. The violin passed next to Dr. Maurice H. Cottleand, a physician from Chicago, before it was acquired by the philanthropist and violinist Howard Gottlieb. Perlman purchased the ‘Sauret’ In 1986 and kept it until 2014 at which time it was sold to a prominent collector in Taiwan.
1. Letter from Itzhak Perlman to Tiberius Klausner, June 6, 1988.
2. Stradivari versus Guarneri, The Strad Magazine,
November 2005, p. 48.
4. W. E. Hill & Sons Business Records, unpublished, December 21 1917.
5. Violins & Violinists, January, 1947, p. 530.
6. Stradivari versus Guarneri, The Strad Magazine, November 2005, p. 48.
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