Known as the ‘Viennese Stradivari’, Franz Geissenhof was born in Füssen in 1753, and from 1772 was taught by Johann Georg Thir in Vienna, whose business he succeeded to in 1781. His earliest recorded work is from 1779, and in his first period he stayed loyal to the Tyrolean Stainer form. From 1800 he began to work on Stradivari models and ideas, and improved the rather thin dark brown varnishes he employed before. Maggini models with doubled purfling are also known. Often branded F.G. on the back button, his work has been much imitated, and his labels and brand are found on very inferior copies. He retired in about 1817, and died in 1821.
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