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corilon violins

Markneukirchen: violin making at the crossroads of craftsmanship and trade


Violin making in Markneukirchen: the tradition of craftsmanship and globalisation


On 6 March 1677, Duke Moritz von Sachsen confirmed the founding of Markneukirchen's first guild of violin makers, which was established when 12 Bohemian immigrants who had made their homes in the Vogtland region joined forces (cf. Klingenthal – the origins of violin making). To safeguard the quality and integrity of this new community, the guild issued strict rules: applicants had to present sophisticated masterpieces, pay high fees for admission into the guild and find someone who would endorse their application.


This makes the year 1713 a much more meaningful date, since it was the first time someone "untrained" was accepted: merchant Johann Elias Pfretzschner. Until that time, the masters themselves personally attended markets, fairs and clients, even when great distances were involved. The dawning “professionalisation” of selling violins turned out to be a blessing and curse at the same time. On the one hand, it led to the global success of Vogtland stringed instruments; on the other hand, it brought about the decline of handmade violin making, which gave way more and more to a division of labour, if not to industrialisation.

Violin from Saxony, approx. 1880 - top

Manufactured violin from Saxony, late 19th century

Inventory No.: 3774
Provenance: Saxony
LOB: 35.9 cm
Year: approx. 1890

German violin after Stradivari - top

Antique German manufactured violin after Stradivari

Inventory No.: 3846
Provenance: Saxony
LOB: 35.8 cm
Year: approx. 1900

In 1719, the Markneukirchen guild had already accepted a craftsman who specialised in peg turning, and shortly thereafter there were separate studios run by neck carvers and makers of violin tops and bottoms. Ultimately countless numbers of people working at home did preparatory work for the few remaining studios of master craftsmen. Labourers often called themselves "factories" and assembled the individual components on behalf of the brokerages that had grown in impressive numbers. These businesses expanded to meet the demands of the globalised market which wanted larger and larger amounts of inexpensive instruments. Around 1800, there were some 80 Markneukirchen businesses working together to produce around 18,000 violins annually. They focussed more and more on the highly sought-after Italian models, turning away from its own Bohemian-Saxonian tradition. A century later, Markneukirchen was considered one of the most affluent cites in Germany; it even had its own U.S. consulate general. The dark side of this profit, however, was the great need of the many smaller and financially dependent masters, their families and apprentices.



Related articles:

Markneukirchen – violin making in “German Cremona”

Noteworthy families of Markneukirchen violin makers

Crossing borders: on the history of violin making in western Bohemia

Klingenthal: the origin of violin making

Hopf: a dynasty of Vogtland violin makers

Ernst Heinrich Roth: a rediscovered master

The bow makers of Markneukirchen

H. R. Pfretzschner

The violin: provenance, value and appraisal.




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Corilon violins • Lilienstrasse 2 • D-81669 München • Germany
Phone: +49 (0)89-444 19 619 • Fax: +49 (0)89-444 19 620
mail@corilon.comwww.corilon.com

New arrivals in our catalogue:
  • Mozart bow - lightweight, active violin bow, silver, Germany
  • 1930's violin bow from Markneukirchen, warm, mellow tone
  • Strong, silver mounted viola bow, c.1980, Markneukirchen, Germany
  • Fine English violin bow by Frank Napier / W.E. Hill & Sons
  • Fine Czech Prague master violin, by Alois Bittner, 1930, No. 75
  • Eckart Richter, contemporary master violin, Markneukirchen
  • Interesting 18th century Markneukirchen viola, 1780 / 1790
  • 1/4 - Fine French 1/4 violin bow, Morizot Frères (certificate J.-F. Raffin)
  • German Markneukirchen violin after Guarneri, beautiful red oil varnish
  • Good German violin bow, W. E. Dörfler
  • 1920's Italian violin by Stefano Caponetto (certificate Christian Lijsen)
  • Powerful antique violin from Saxony, after J. Stainer
  • German Markneukirchen violin, Heinrich Th. Heberlein Jr., 1937
  • French violin from Mirecourt, approx. 1900
  • French violin with a singing tone, Amedee Dieudonne, 1945
  • 19th century: Antique German violin from Saxony, c.1850
  • Petite, late 18th century Italian violin, central Italy (certificate Hieronymus Köstler)
  • Rare German-English violin, Arnold Voigt, approx. 1890
  • Contemporary Markneukirchen master viola, Jochen Voigt, 1982, for soloists
  • Italian violin, Claudio Gamberini, circa 1930-50 (certificate Hieronymus Köstler)
  • Interesting historical violin by Johann Georg Leeb, Preßburg, 1786 (certificate Hieronymus Köstler)
  • Riccardo Bergonzi, contemporary Cremonese master violin (certificate R. Bergonzi)
  • Giulio Cesare Gigli, fine 18th century Italian violin, approx. 1750 (certificate E. Vatelot)
  • Mario Gadda, modern Italian violin after Oreste Candi, 1984 (certificate Mario Gadda)