A violin made by expert Italian craftsman Guarneri del Gesù has gone on sale for $18 million, a sale price that would make it the world’s most expensive musical instrument.
The Vieuxtemps Guarneri, which was made in 1741, three years before the craftsman’s death, has been put up for sale in Chicago through one of the world’s leading traders in rare violins, Bein & Fushi.
Dubbed the Mona Lisa of violins, it has been played in concert halls around the world by some of the greatest virtuosi of its 269-year existence. It is named after Henri Vieuxtemps, a 19th-century musician who composed solo pieces for violin which he performed using the instrument.
The violin is currently owned by a retired British financier and music philanthropist, Ian Stoutzker, who bought it from Sir Isaac Wolfson, founder of Wolfson College, Oxford.
Geoffrey Fushi said the instrument was one of the most unusual made by Guarneri thanks to its size and sound.
“I believe it is a living entity, a living being,” Mr Fushi said.
“Musicians say the same thing – that the instrument dictates to them how they play the music.”
Peter Quint, a Chicago-based soloist who has performed on the Vieuxtemps several times with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, said it was unique.
“This instrument has the most unbelievable power, not just in loudness but in sound quality. It has a huge palate of colours that allow you to express a wider range of emotions.”View Comments