On April 26, Christies
will present the spring sale of Fine Musical Instruments. Comprised of 109 lots, the sale will focus on classical instruments, with a particular emphasis on impressive bows, including examples created by master craftsmen, Franšois Xavier Tourte and Jean Baptiste Vuillaume.
Highlighting the selection of bows is a gold and ivory- mounted violin bow created by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume in Paris, circa 1849 (pictured above and right, estimate: $70,000-120,000). A revered French violin maker and dealer, Vuillaume followed the bow-making techniques of Franšois Xavier Tourte and employed the most distinguished artisans of the craft, ensuring that the bows produced by his workshop were as admired as the violins. A trademark of Vuillaumes bows is the depiction of noted musicians; this bow pays tribute to Niccol˛ Paganini, the renowned violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer, with his likeness carved in bas-relief.
A gold and tortoiseshell-mounted violin bow by Franšois Xavier Tourte will also be featured (estimate: $150,000-250,000). Created in Paris, circa 1820-1825, this bow is a quintessential example of the form revolutionized by Tourte. A French clockmaker turned instrument craftsman, Tourte modernized the structure of the bow to meet the demands of the changing musical styles of the 19th century, allowing musicians to play more varied repertoires in larger venues.
A varied selection of stringed instruments will also be presented, including a Venetian violin by Domenico Montagnana, circa 1740 (estimate: $200,000-300,000) and a Mantuan violin by Pietro Giovanni Guarneri (estimate: $250,000-350,000). A French violin by Nicolas Lupot, known as the ex-spohr, is also featured (estimate: $60,000-80,000). An instrument with noteworthy provenance, the ex-Spohr is traditionally believed to have once been the primary instrument of German violinist, composer, and conductor Ludwig Spohr.
An exceptional woodwind instrument offered in the sale is a five-keyed boxwood clarinet by Carl Augustin Grenser, one of the greatest woodwind makers of the 18th century German School (estimate: $10,000-15,000). In addition to being a talented craftsman, Grenser was also an accomplished musician. His surviving instruments are revered for their exceptional workmanship as well as their intonation and splendid tone.
Additional highlights include a classical guitar by Antonio Emilio Pascual Viudes from Buenos Aires, 1924 (estimate: $15,000-25,000), a flamenco guitar by Domingo Esteso from Madrid, 1925 (estimate: $3,000-5,000), and another classical guitar by Manuel Velazquez from New York, 1966 (estimate: $5,000-7,000).