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BeitragVerfasst: Do 11. Okt 2018, 0:10 
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Hello,

I apologize for my English but I am writing from sunny central California and my German is quite limited. We need help identifying a violin that has been in our family for over a century. The violin was owned/played by my grandfather, Johann Sigmund Zahlis. Our limited understanding of the violin is that my grandfather received it from an uncle (surname Grossberg).

The violin has a Joseph Guarnerius label. The first two digits are 17 and the last two digits are illegible. An acquaintance familiar with violins thought the violin may have been repaired at the neck and he encouraged me to look inside for a label. The label reads: Moritz Gläsel genannt Wiener Instrumenten Fabrikant Markneukirchen Sachsen. It also looks like Mr. Gläsel may have added his initials to the site of the repair on the outside surface of the violin where the neck meets the body.

We are hoping to find someone familiar with Moritz Gläsel. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


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BeitragVerfasst: Do 11. Okt 2018, 13:49 
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Geigenbaumeister

Registriert: Do 02. Feb 2006, 11:16
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Hello danzahlis (?).

I try to answer in English.

I guess, you are clear in one's mind that the Joseph Guarnerius label is more in meaning of the model.

But Carl Moritz Gläsel as maker, this makes sence. He learned guitar making with his father, than he learned violin maker in Copenhagen and later he became a dealer in musical instruments, founded then his own factory. If his label shows "Instrumenten Fabrikant", I guess, your instrument was made just in this factory.

Nevertheless, your instrument could be a good one. Gläsel got some medals at exhibitions for his instruments.

For a long time it was obscure where his birth place was. But I myself read the entry of baptism in the records of the "Lutherische Stadtkirche" parish in Wien, where he was born August 29th 1838. I assume that's why he called himself "Wiener" or this was a nickname given of his colleagues. Gläsel died in 1917 in Markneukirchen.

Could you upload please pictures of " the site of the repair on the outside surface of the violin where the neck meets the body". Do you mean the button? This is unusually for a repair. Anyway we are interested in some photographs of your violin.

Best greetings

Udo


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BeitragVerfasst: Do 11. Okt 2018, 16:49 
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Vielen dank, Udo.

We understand the rarity of authentic Joseph Guarnerius violins. We assumed grandpa's instrument was a replica, even though that's not the way he treated it. We didn't know it had the Joseph Guarnerius label until after he passed away.

Grandpa (Johann Sigmund Zahlis) was trained in Chicago and played/composed there. According to family history, he played with Jascha Heifetz on at least one occasion. Around 1935, he put his violin aside and went to work on the railroad to provide for his family. We were told about his violin our entire lives but didn't see it until after his death. He kept the instrument hidden, wrapped in silk, inside an alligator case.

As a child, I would crawl on my hands and knees and peek through the door into his den while he listened to classical music. He had tears running down his cheeks. Grandma would chase me away, quietly but firmly. I was confused by the tears at the time. I understand them now.

We became intrigued about the origins of the violin after an acquaintance prompted me to inspect a repair. That's when I discovered the Gläsel label. In his opinion, it would be unlikely for Gläsel to perform the repair on a replica. He thought it would be less expensive to buy multiple new replicas. I suppose it's possible that the Gläsel label I found is the label of the instrument's maker rather than a repair label, but it is located at the site of an obvious repair and we suspect the repair was initialed by Mr. Gläsel on the outside. I am sure there are flaws in our thinking but it is intriguing.

My acquaintenance based his opinions of Mr. Gläsel on one of Gläsel's known/surviving works at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts ( https://www.mfa.org/collections/object/ ... -bow-51052 ); several awards issued to him at international events and an obscure reference in "Geigen und Lautenmacher" https://archive.org/details/GeigenUndLa ... /page/n171 :

Glasel, Moritz (called Wiener). - f 1917
Son of Carl Aug. Gl. He was a good connoisseur and owned the most important stock of old violins in Markneukirchen. His business passed to his son-in-law Reinhold Voigt, who in the same way as the founder, continues under the old company.

We have also located letters written by Mr. Gläsel about selling some of his violins ( http://digital.sim.spk-berlin.de/viewer ... /LOG_0000/ ). I can be easily impressed but, "Wow!, that letterhead!"

I am having trouble uploading images because I'm exceeding the 80k upload size restrictions. I will try to reduce the size of my files and get some posted as soon as possible. I can also provide a link to my Google Drive and Box.com repositories where I have uploaded many pictures and videos. I am also happy to take pictures to comply with requests.

Danke nochmal, Udo.


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BeitragVerfasst: Do 11. Okt 2018, 18:47 
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You should be able to view pics and videos at this link:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1BYSjO ... CphcKuq78k


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BeitragVerfasst: Do 11. Okt 2018, 21:22 
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Hallo nochmal, Udo.

I found another instance of a Moritz Gläzel label. The label is attached to a Giovanni Dollenz violin. The label looks like the one found inside our violin except the words "reparirt von" are typed above Mr. Gläsel's name. I think I will check to see if I overlooked the words "reparirt von" on our label.

http://www.violin.instruments.edu.pl/en ... trument/87

The partly damaged label inside the Dollenz reads: ...reparirt von / Moritz Gläsel / genannt Wiener. / Instrumentenmacher / Markneukirchen / in...

Take care from sunny and warm central California...Dan


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BeitragVerfasst: Sa 13. Okt 2018, 15:51 
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Hallo zusammen,

I have attached a few pictures of the Moritz Gläsel label and what we believe to be his initials inscribed on the back of the violin above the upper block. The label is located inside the violin affixed to the upper block. I will add a few more pictures in another post. The Google Drive link above provides many more pictures and videos.


Dateianhänge:
Dateikommentar: What appear to be Moritz Gläsel's initials inscribed on the back of the violin above the upper block.
MWg_Neck_Repair_initials_400600.jpg
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Dateikommentar: Moritz Gläsel label affixed to the upper block inside the violin.
MoritzGläsel_Upper_Block_Repair_400600.jpg
MoritzGläsel_Upper_Block_Repair_400600.jpg [ 6.46 KiB | 977-mal betrachtet ]
Back_Neck_Repair_400600.jpg
Back_Neck_Repair_400600.jpg [ 17.85 KiB | 977-mal betrachtet ]
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BeitragVerfasst: Sa 13. Okt 2018, 16:05 
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Here are a few more pictures. We are trying to ascertain who built this violin—was it Moritz Gläsel, or did Gläsel repair the violin of another builder? We would love to receive any insights regarding:

* Are there any surviving records of Moritz Gläsel?
* Does he have any living descendants still making violins?
* Was it customary for him to affix his manufacturing label to the upper block inside the violin?
* Was/is it customary for any violin makers to affix their labels to the upper block inside the violin?
* When was Moritz Gläsel actively building/repairing violins?
* If our violin was created by him, would the label read "Kymato"? https://www.amati.com/en/maker/kymato
* Did he ever include "Copy" or "Made In" on the label of a master's copy (e.g. Joseph Guarneri)?
* Are there any surviving records of Moritz Gläsel's "most important stock of old violins in Markneukirchen"? (see MostImportantStock image attached)

Any help is greatly appreciated...Dan


Dateianhänge:
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MostImportantStock.jpg
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BeitragVerfasst: Sa 13. Okt 2018, 16:08 
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Just a few more pictures...


Dateianhänge:
SCroll_Right_400600.jpg
SCroll_Right_400600.jpg [ 13.32 KiB | 976-mal betrachtet ]
Scroll_Left_400600.jpg
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Back_Top_400600.jpg
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BeitragVerfasst: Sa 13. Okt 2018, 16:25 
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Registriert: Do 02. Feb 2006, 11:16
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Hi Dan,

I don't believe that Carl Moritz Gläsel (or someone in his workshop) made such scratches to a violin! In my opinion these could are the initials of a former owner. And I don't read MG, may be it a R and a J. But the photograph is not really sharp. I know how difficult it could be to take pictures of such things in or below the varnish.

Are there the words "reparirt von" at the Gläsel- label in your violin? I can't see this at the picture.

Dan, what is your aim? Do you want to find out who made this violin, hopeful that it was an Italian maker? Or do you want to know more about Carl Moritz Gläsel. I'm still not sure about.

Greetings

Udo


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BeitragVerfasst: Sa 13. Okt 2018, 17:21 
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Udo Kretzschmann hat geschrieben:

Are there the words "reparirt von" at the Gläsel- label in your violin? I can't see this at the picture.

Dan, what is your aim? Do you want to find out who made this violin, hopeful that it was an Italian maker? Or do you want to know more about Carl Moritz Gläsel. I'm still not sure about.

Udo


Hallo Udo,

I did not notice the words "reparit von" on or near the Gläsel label but I wasn't looking for them. I was excited to find the label and stopped poking around immediately. I will take a closer look.

Our aim is to understand who made this violin. The answer to that question will help us understand the financial value of the instrument and how we handle it. We understand its sentimental value.

We would love for this to be an authentic Joseph Guarneri del Gesu but we know that to be virtually impossible. It has been in my grandfather's possession for a century and it belonged to the family well before that (or so we've been told). So, who made it? If it was Moritz Gläsel, we would like to know everything we can about him. He was known to have an important collection of old violins. Was this one of them or did he make this violin by copying one of those old violins? He was an artist. His work is in the Boston Museum of Arts. We are thrilled to have something made by him or repaired by him but we understand it could be one of the mass-produced factory violins.

We hadn't thought very much about its value because my grandfather left it hidden in a closet for most of his life. We assumed the violin was a Guarneri replica when we first discovered the label. We began to wonder about its authenticity as an authentic Italian violin when we discovered the Gläsel label. We assumed his label was inserted at the time of a repair but maybe not. If it was a repair, we wondered why someone of Gläsel's stature would repair a replica.

You continue to refer to Gläsel as Carl Moritz Gläsel. I thought his name was Moritz Wilhelm Gläsel, but my knowledge is limited to dubious content on the Internet. We didn't even see the initials on the back until my acquaintance pointed them out. My interpretation of the initials (in red) was based on my belief that his name was Moritz Wilhelm Gläsel. I assumed the first character was a stylized version of an "M" and a "W" combined but that's pure conjecture based on imagination.

We believe understanding Gläsel is the key to understanding the origins of our violin.

Thanks for taking the time to look over the photos, Udo. There are many more at the link I provided above.


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BeitragVerfasst: Sa 13. Okt 2018, 17:45 
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Udo Kretzschmann hat geschrieben:

I don't believe that Carl Moritz Gläsel (or someone in his workshop) made such scratches to a violin! In my opinion these could are the initials of a former owner. And I don't read MG, may be it a R and a J. But the photograph is not really sharp. I know how difficult it could be to take pictures of such things in or below the varnish.



I feel a little silly for not having made this connection before. Your confidence that a luthier would not have "made such scratches" made me think about prior owners. Our understanding is that my grandfather received the violin from a Grossberg uncle. My great grandfather was a Lutheran Pastor living in Latvia where he met my great grandmother Krimhilda Grossberg. Krimhilda had two brothers (Petyr and Sigmund, I believe). One was a Lutheran Pastor and the other was a violinist but family lore does have its vulnerabilities.

My understanding of German orthography is that a capital "G" is written like the English lowercase "g". I now wonder if those "scratches" belong to the uncle that gave the violin to my grandfather?


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BeitragVerfasst: So 14. Okt 2018, 18:54 
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Udo Kretzschmann hat geschrieben:

Are there the words "reparirt von" at the Gläsel- label in your violin? I can't see this at the picture.



Hi Udo,

I took a closer look at the Gläsel label on the upper block. There is definitely something printed on the bottom/center of the label but it is completely illegible. The size of the text is smaller than all other text on the label. It could be "reparirt von" or it could be something else entirely. I looked at all sides of the label very closely. The bottom/center is the only possibility but that text could be anything.

I noticed the label inscription for Moritz Gläsel's walking stick violin and bow at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston describes the printed label.

https://www.mfa.org/collections/object/ ... -bow-51052

Inscription
Printed label: Moritz Gläsel / gennannt Wiener, / Instrumentenmacher / Markneukirchen / in Sachsen

The label inscription of the walking stick violin matches the label inside our violin exactly, except for the words "in Sachsen" at the end. I suspect the faint words I found at the bottom/center of our label could be "in Sachsen." A photograph of the walking stick label would be helpful but I cannot find one. I will reach out to the museum and ask if such a photograph is available.


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BeitragVerfasst: Mo 15. Okt 2018, 0:54 
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Geigenbaumeister

Registriert: Do 02. Feb 2006, 11:16
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Hello Dan,
danzahlis hat geschrieben:
I will reach out to the museum and ask if such a photograph is available.
this is not nessecary, in the avi- Film I can "clearly" read "Sachsen" (about 1:55min). But often a label says nothing. However the position at the upper block is really unusual.

You wrote a lot! Do you want to test my English? It is still aweful. I need a long time to read an English text and I need so much more time to answer. An, if I should be honest, as priority I have to work at my workbench!

To the "scratches":
What so you think about my attached drawing? You can see the oroginal signs better than me.

The firstnames:
Only Carl Moritz and his father Carl August used the nickname "Wiener", both lived (for a short time) in Vienna.

That's all for today, I'm really tired.. Good night

Udo


Dateianhänge:
Dateikommentar: May be RJ?
RJ_initials.jpg
RJ_initials.jpg [ 491.81 KiB | 936-mal betrachtet ]
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BeitragVerfasst: Mo 15. Okt 2018, 2:06 
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Danke, Udo. Meine Frau ist Französischlehrerin. Sie hat mich davor gewarnt, Google Translate zu verwenden, aber ich werde es für zukünftige Posts verwenden.

Ich denke deine Zeichnung sieht möglich aus, aber die zweite Figur ist definitiv geschlossen, eher wie ein 'g'. Ich nehme ein hochauflösendes Bild der Initialen und lade es auf mein Google Drive hoch.

Ich verspreche, dich für eine Weile allein zu lassen. ;)

Danke für deine Zeit und Mühe ... Dan

P.S. Ihr Englisch ist sehr leicht zu lesen.


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BeitragVerfasst: Di 20. Nov 2018, 11:31 
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Hi Dan,

concerning your violin. It may be very hard to find out who actually built it. It is not an original Guarnerius, but was most likely made in Saxony/Bohemia. The Letters on the violin's back are in my opinion not related to the one who built or repaired it. So they could be anything- an R for sure, and a J or G (I read a G there) or even a Y. They were most likely -as Udo already stated- a scratch made to link this instrument to a former owner. Neither for the origin nor the value of the instrument these letters are relevant. So forget about them.

According to the Gläsel label inside: this could be the label of the repair or of the violin's origin. What gives you the idea, that Gläsel did not repair "copies"?

1. Clearly, the position of the label is near the old repair. If e.g., the luthier did not open the Instrument completely to do the repair, putting the label on the neck base may have been an obvious solution as removing the neck was necessary for repair anyway.

2. The Gläsel factory was a company, not a single luthier sitting lonely in his workshop, being a nerdy genius deciding to dedicate his live to precious violins only :-) On the contrary: These large workshops often offered a wide range of products, cheap and expensive violins, used and new violins, repairs and service, spare parts.... And like today, they repaired everything a customer was willing to pay for. But your violin is of good quality, so this repair was totally justified, and not a bit unjustified or remarkable. So nothing crazy there either. :-)

The origin of the violin: This is most likely a saxonian/bohemian instrument. At that time, both these regions were not only geographically linked, but held very close production and trade relations. The large manufactures exchanged instrument parts, and bought violin parts as well as white instruments as well as completed violins from small workshops and poor homeworkers, selling them under their own name/brand. So even IF the label of Gläsel is the one the violin originated, you will never find out who exactly made it. Whether it was made in the workshop, or whether it was one of the instruments only traded there is not traceable any more. Only in very occasional cases, a violin from these large manufactures has so distinct characteristics. Did you know, that around 1900 the US had a consulship/specialized embassy in Markneukirchen, ONLY for organising the trade with musical instruments? The amount of instruments produced and traded there was enormous at that time!

Value of the violin: The large manufacturers sold a lot of different violins in different qualities. They bought master instruments from smaller workshops and single luthiers, produced master instruments by themselves, and produced cheaper instruments for beginners and families. And often all of them bear similar labels. To judge the value of an instrument just by a photo (or a few...) is simply not possible. One may get a somehow estimated value if the instrument is definitely a genuine one of a known maker, but for most of the instruments this is not the case. For your instrument, it may come from Gläsel or not. For the value this is not important, as Gläsel had cheaper and better instruments, and a violin without any label may be better than one with label.

For estimating a violins value, the sound of the instrument is extremely important. Furthermore, one must take the repairs into account. Basically, you may want to cover the violin's value with an insurance. The insurance amount should cover the sum necessary to get an equivalent instrument. Therefore, the value of the instrument is relative to your local market situation, which may change over time. Someone judging the violin's value therefore must know a bit about the prices of violins of similar sound quality. And no insurance is able to cover the individual family value of the insurance. No other violin will be the one your ancestors played except this one, and no other violin will hold these memories for you.

So I suggest that you ask your local luthier for a value appraisal. And yes, trying to find out about the history of an instrument is interesting and fun. But I suggest that you extend the radius to the general history of instruments and their makers in Saxony and Bohemia- the way these instruments were made, the way the trade involved and changed over time, the way the poor small workshop luthiers suffered by the price dictators (big manufacturers), and how families had to survive under very poor conditions. It may give you -at it did for me!- a lot more respect and a very different idea of the value of the "cheap manufacture instruments at Ebay". And if you come to Germany, visit the Markneukirchen Museum!


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