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Violin by Antonio Stradivari, 1722 ex “Joachim-Elman”

Tags: Antonio Stradivari | Joachim-Elman | violin

The violin Joachim-Elman was made in 1722. By this time, Stradivari had already attained a high level of maturity in his technique, but he was still continuously working to refine the details of the violin appearance and curvature, trying to achieve a more sturdy structure and a fuller sound. Despite the differences in the handling of the curvature and details that differentiated his style from earlier works, the overall form still retains the standard proportion that Stradivari had established in 1704.

The violin bears the label of the original maker, although the date has faded slightly. At 35.4 cm in length, the violin has a broad and shallow grain on the two-part back, with a slightly downward slope from the central seam. The central portion of the front has a medium grain, which grows coarser towards the edges. The medium-width grain spreads throughout both sides and the head of the instrument.

This instrument was once owned by the Romantic Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim (1831–1907). It was subsequently transferred to the Russian violinist Mischa Elman (1891–1967), who used it on tour for 41 years since 1907. The violin has thus been given the name “Joachim-Elman,” a name which gives anyone playing the instrument a great deal to live up to. In 1948, the “Joachim-Elman” Stradivari came into the possession of the collector and connoisseur Samuel Bloomfield, and then in 1981 it was acquired by the Czech violinist Josef Suk II (1929–present), who used it in recordings of Mozart’s violin concertos, which won him the France’s Grand Prix du Disque. With its unique style and rich history, this violin is one of the treasures of the Chi Mei Museum’s collection.


Text and images are provided by Music Digital Archives Center, National Taiwan Normal University (Digital Violin Archive Project of Chi Mei Museum)