German master violin by Erwin von Grüner

This fine master violin was crafted around 1950 and is an early work by Erwin von Grüner of Baiersdorf, a town in the vicinity of Bubenreuth. With its exceptionally beautiful, liberally applied oil varnish, its precisely carved f-holes and its exquisitely inlaid purfling, this instrument is a credit to its young maker, and its style, not coincidentally, demonstrates Bohemian influences. Erwin von Grüner (1925—2001) was born in Teplitz (Teplice), where his father worked as a luthier and owned a music shop. After the Second World...

This fine master violin was crafted around 1950 and is an early work by Erwin von Grüner of Baiersdorf, a town in the vicinity of Bubenreuth. With its exceptionally beautiful, liberally applied oil varnish, its precisely carved f-holes and its exquisitely inlaid purfling, this instrument is a credit to its young maker, and its style, not coincidentally, demonstrates Bohemian influences. Erwin von Grüner (1925—2001) was born in Teplitz (Teplice), where his father worked as a luthier and owned a music shop. After the Second World War, his family fled to Heldburg in Thuringia. In 1948 von Grüner passed the examination for his master craftsman’s diploma in Weimar, and in 1951 moved to Franconia, where many other German refugees from Bohemia had settled. There he found work at the Fred A. Wilfers musical instrument factory, later renamed FRAMUS, which at that time specialized in manufacturing violins. In 1954 von Grüner opened his own atelier in Baiersdorf, just a few kilometers away. The violin we offer here may well have been made during his years in Thuringia. Whatever its exact provenance, it is a tangible piece of history, an instrument made by a refugee who resumed the traditional craft of the ethnic German luthiers of Bohemia. Interestingly, it is also one of the few violins that von Grüner produced, as his success as a guitar maker (von Grüner became an insider tip among professional musicians) left him hardly any time to work on violins. His characteristic brandstamp is therefore seldom to be seen, and it appears here both inside the body as well as on the outside of the beautifully flamed, one-piece maple back. This perfectly preserved, highly interesting instrument produces a brilliant sound that is rich in overtones with a slightly dark edge—a rare voice indeed!

Erwin von Grüner, German master violin, approx. 1950 - front view
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