The Baltic, a highly valued musical artifact, originally from 1761, is predicted to fetch a windfall price after being exhibited twice at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Highly-valued musical artifact- The Baltic, has been offered up for auction after been exhibited twice at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The rare, 300-year old violin was collected by the late businessman, Sau Wing Lam. The Baltic has been offered up for auction and is estimated to be sold at an excess of $10 million when auctioned at the Tarisio, scheduled for the month of March.
The Guarneri Violin, more commonly referred to as The Baltic, is one of the most celebrated and coveted instruments in the world, renowned for its unparalleled sound quality and exceptional craftsmanship. The instrument was named after the Guarneri family, a dynasty of Italian violin makers who crafted some of the most exceptional violins in history.
The Guarneri family originated in Cremona, Italy, which was home to some of the most prominent violin makers of the time, including the famous Stradivari family. The Guarneri family was made up of three generations of master luthiers: Andrea Guarneri, his sons Pietro and Giuseppe, and his grandson, Bartolomeo.
Andrea Guarneri was the first member of the family to start making violins, and he was known for his large, robust instruments that were designed for use in orchestras. His violins were also popular with virtuosos, who valued the instruments’ rich, masterful tone. Pietro and Giuseppe continued their father’s tradition of making large, powerful violins , but they also began experimenting with new designs and techniques, which led to the creation of some of the most famous violins in history.
Bartolomeo Guarneri, the grandson of Andrea, was born in 1698 and was trained in violin-making by his father, Giuseppe. He eventually surpassed his father in skill and reputation, and became known as “del Gesù,” which means “of Jesus”, after adding the letters “IHS” to his label, a reference to the first three letters of Jesus’ name in Greek. Del Gesù’s violins were often more flamboyant than those of his predecessors, with bold, dramatic styling and a powerful, penetrating tone.
Despite the Guarneri family’s incredible skill and talent, they struggled to gain recognition during their lifetimes. Not unlike many other artisans, the family’s reputation grew only after their deaths, as their instruments were discovered by musicians and collectors who recognized their exceptional quality. At the time of this writing, Guarneri violins are among the most prized and valuable instruments in the world, and they are played by some of the most renowned musicians in history, such as Itzhak Perlman, Gidon Kremer, Pinchas Zukerman, Sarah Chang, Renaud Capucon.
Carlos Tome, director and head of sales at Tarisio said in a statement, “The ‘Baltic’ is more than an exceptional instrument; it is a singular work of art… Given the limited quantity of violins produced by del Gesù, the upcoming sale marks the first time in over 30 years that an instrument of this type has come to public sale.”
The Baltic violin, crafted in 1731 by renowned Italian luthier Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù, is widely considered one of the most valued violins ever crafted, even among the 150 other pieces crafted by this maker. The instrument’s exceptional tone and clarity make it a favorite among musicians and collectors alike. The Baltic is known for its rich and deep resonance, which is attributed to the unique combination of materials used in its construction. The top of the violin is crafted from a single piece of spruce, while the back and sides are made of highly-flamed maple. The instrument’s varnish is also noteworthy, as it is believed to have been created using a secret formula passed down through generations of the Guarneri family.
The Baltic has a distinctive and recognizable appearance, with its deep reddish-brown varnish and intricate scrollwork. Its sound is equally remarkable, with a powerful and expressive character that is well-suited for both solo performances and ensemble playing. Many accomplished violinists have played and recorded on the Baltic, including Isaac Stern and Pinchas Zukerman. Today, the violin remains an object of fascination and reverence, a testament to the enduring legacy of Guarneri’s craftsmanship and artistry.
The violin has been arranged to be exhibited at Tarisio’s New York galleries from February 22nd to March 16th, when, at that time, it is set to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. .