In the 1930s the viola was in the possession of Paul Wittgenstein, the pianist who lost his right arm in World War I, and for whom Ravel wrote his Concerto for the Left Hand. Wittgenstein took the viola to the US in 1940 and consigned it to Emil Herrmann, who sold it later that year to the collector Maulsby Kimball. Kimball owned a number of fine instruments, including the Rivaz Stradivari of 1707 and the Wilhelmj Stradivari of 1725.
The viola remained in the US for the remainder of the 20th century and was sold to Herbert Axelrod in April 2002. Axelrod was one of the leading collectors of the time, and owned numerous great Stradivaris, including the Andrejeus of 1708, the Hellier of 1679 and the Greffuhle of 1709. The viola was sold as part of the Axelrod Collection to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in 2003, and the orchestra sold the collection to a New York based hedge fund in 2007.
Paul Wittgenstein who owned the viola by Brothers Amati
Tim Ingles and Paul Hayday will offer an initial evaluation of the authenticity and value of your instrument or bow. At this stage, the assessment is free and without obligation. In the first instance, we suggest submitting good-quality images to us, preferably by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing the valuation form.