$10 MILLION PROVED TO BE TOO MUCH FOR THE KREUZER VIOLIN THIS TIME AROUND
The recent sealed bid auction at Christies for what many anticipated would end up being one of the most expensive instruments ever sold didn’t quite live up to (the very high) expectations as it didn’t reach the reserve price. It did however give us the chance to see and hear a fine old instrument.
This auction was for the 1731 violin made by Antonio Stradivari that has become known as the ‘Kreutzer’ violin. It is reported to have belonged to a reclusive heiress called Huguette Clark, and was purchased by her parents in the 1920s, and stayed in their family for 90 years. As well as being sought after for its quality of tone and the beautiful ‘red’ appearance of the varnish it is also famous because Huguette Clark left it un-played in the wardrobe of her Manhattan apartment for 25 years! Although this may sound a little careless it was actually 1 of 7 Antonio Stradivari violins that the family owned over time J
Some of the proceeds of the hotly anticipated sale of the ‘Kreutzer’ violin were intended to settle the Clark Estate. The violin has become known as the Kreutzer violin because one of its previous owners was the famous French violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer (who died in 1831).
Assuming that the conditions inside the cupboard where it was stored were good the fact that the violin was untouched for so long despite being a very valuable and playable instrument (it was Kreutzer’s preferred main instrument) makes it all the more interesting.
As well as this being an interesting story it’s always a pleasure to see and hear a great instrument.
Christies talk about the violin’s history here
This page has a video of the violin being played so you can here the much talked about tone of the instrument, described here as rich and masculine.