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Jean-Joseph Martin violin bow
Jean-Joseph Martin violin bow
Jean-Joseph Martin violin bow
Jean-Joseph Martin violin bow tip
Jean-Joseph Martin violin bow tip
Provenance: Paris
Maker: Jean-Joseph Martin
Weight: 57.3 g
Year: approx. 1880

Jean-Joseph Martin: Fine French violin bow, c.1880 (certificate J.-F. Raffin)

This fine antique violin bow was created around 1880 by Jean-Joseph Martin at the pinnacle of his difficult life, and the work is a powerful but delightfully light masterpiece of unmistakably French provenance. This Jean-Joseph Martin bow captures the artisanal and musical qualities of a craftsman who attempted a great leap forward – and tragically failed. Raised in extreme poverty, the highly talented student of Nicolas Rémy Maire rose quickly through the ranks of the great Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume’s workshop and managed to establish himself successfully in 1863 in his hometown of Mirecourt. From 1870 on, Martin helped initiate the bow-making branch of the business at Thibouville-Lamy, and five years he created a violin-makers’ cooperative to which the Reims native Emile Mennesson and his successful label J. Guarini also contributed. It is not known why exactly this promising business failed, but after a few years, Jean-Joseph Martin as the director had to declare bankruptcy through no fault of his own. This bow may have been crafted as one of the final pieces during the period of his greatest success. The silver-mounted Vuillaume-style bow exhibits exquisite craftsmanship in the strong and dynamic round stick, the kind of work which Martin studied during his time in Paris and which only few bow makers of his generation mastered. The ebony frog and the button alike were both finely detailed French replicas created a short while after the bow was first crafted. This bow has shown to be the perfect choice for virtuoso performance thanks in part to its comfortable weight of 57.3 g, and with its highly refined and nuanced elasticity, it gives musicians broad options in terms of interpretation. A certificate issued by the renowned French-bow expert J. F. Raffin confirms that this outstanding piece is an authentic Jean-Joseph Martin work with the exception of the frog, which is also of French provenance. We now offer it ready to play and in top condition given its advanced age that justified a minor repair to the frog. It is warmly recommended to discerning musicians.

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