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By Cuturekiosque Staff

SHANGHAI, 17 OCTOBER 2015 — Christie’s announces a landmark exhibition, The Art of Music: Outstanding Italian Instruments from an Important Private Collection, in Shanghai and Hong Kong from 14 October to 29 November of eight exceptional string instruments available for private sale. The exhibition comprises outstanding examples by Antonio Stradivari (four violins and one cello) and his contemporary Giuseppe Bartolomeo Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ (three violins), whose names are synonymous with the greatest musical instruments ever produced. Drawn from an important European collection, The Art of Music represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire some of the greatest violins and cellos still in private hands. Dating from the 1670s to the 1730s, the Golden Age of Italian making, each piece is exquisite aurally and aesthetically. The group has a combined value of almost US$60 million. The exhibition is sponsored by the world renowned piano makers Steinway & Sons. Accompanying the Shanghai and Hong Kong exhibition, Christie’s will host a series of events – including lectures, art forums and recitals – to engage with enthusiastic private collectors, foundations, art institutions and musicians.

A celebration of exceptional craftsmanship and the cultural significance of these instruments, the exhibition traces the history of violin making through the 17th and early 18th centuries, contextualising Stradivari and Guarneri’s work in the broader developments of the age. It explores the novel design and manufacturing processes employed by the two innovators and explains why these instruments – with their unrivalled sonic qualities – have continued to inspire painters, musicians, sculptors, photographers, collectors and music-loving audiences over five centuries.

To complement the exhibition, Christie’s has been loaned the prized ‘Titian’ Stradivari, from another private collector. Named after the eponymous painter due to its gloriously rich red varnish, the ‘Titian’ is widely regarded as one of the greatest violins still in private ownership. Its presence is recognition of the quality of the other instruments being displayed, many of them associated with some of the world’s leading musicians – from Alfredo Carlo Piatti to Jacqueline du Pré.

Paul Cutts, Christie’s Global Managing Director of Decorative Arts: "What really makes these instruments remarkable is the absolute genius and craftsmanship of the makers: the mathematical proportion and precision; the almost scientific rigour that they brought to experimenting with sound and creating the greatest sound, yet at the same time each instrument is unique."

Kerry Keane, Christie’s Musical Instruments Consultant: "The collection is an embarrassment of riches representing the pinnacle of violin making: tonal quality coupled with extraordinary craftsmanship."

The eight instruments are:

1673 Stradivari cello ex du Pré

1686 Stradivari violin ex Rosenheim /Kochański

1694 Stradivari violin Muir-Mackenzie

1705 Stradivari violin Baron von der Leyen/ ex-Klaveness

1717 Stradivari violin ex Piatti

1728 Guarneri del Gesù violin ex Kubelíc ex Von Vecsey

1735 Guarneri del Gesù violin ex Kathleen Parlow ex Viotti

1736 Guarneri del Gesù violin ex Lafont ex Brodsky ex Repin violin (illustrated above left)


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