Léon Bernardel – Workshop Violin – Paris circa 1915-1920 – SOLD MAY 26, 2023 –
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LÉON BERNARDEL, Luthier
Copie d’Antonius Amati di Cremona
Léon Bernardel (1853-1931) was born in Paris and was the son of Ernst Auguste Bernardel. He studied with his dad from an early age and at age 16 he went to Mirecourt to train with Justin Derazey. At age 18 Léon returned to Paris to join the family firm Gand & Bernardel Frères. He began his own shop in 1899 and became a decorated officer of the French Music Academy in 1900. His violins have beautiful modeling, excellent handwork on the scroll, arching, and sound holes. Bernardel’s oil varnish is a deep red, orange/brown on a golden ground and shows the influence of Gand violins. In 1913 Léon joined a music export firm to expand his sales which supplied instruments all over France and to the West. We believe this is one of those instruments. This violin was made under Bernardel’s direction in his workshop by another hand. Even so this century old violin was made with great care and shows excellent workmanship with the knife and graduation of the plates. The spruce top has a fine to medium width straight grain. The two-piece maple back is highly flamed with a medium to small width classic figure that descends ever so slightly from the center seam. The ribs match in degree of flame and the neck and scroll have a curl that jumps off the page. We have gone over the entire instrument with a new set up in rosewood fittings. The violin has some natural playing wear in the varnish, and the instrument has no issues.
• Corpus 360.0 mm.
• Major Width 208.0 mm.
• Minor Width 171.0 mm.
• Rib Height 30.0 mm.
The sound on this violin pops. The responsiveness is quick and Yes! – the sound jumps off the strings. It leans to the brighter side of the spectrum, but I love it. The sustain is for real and its bottom end is rich, lush with gorgeous overtones and a little edginess to the weight. The treble side is brilliant and lovely. This violin has it! Power, response, and meatiness in the G and D strings with tons of color in the treble.