A violin by Antonio Stradivari

Cremona, 1701

labelled Antonius Stradiuarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno17XX

length of back 35.6cm.

The ‘ex-Markees’ received its name from professor Karl Markees (1865 – 1926) who studied under Joseph Joachim and was a member of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kruse Quartet, and the Halir Quartet. Markees sold the violin to John Friedrich & Brothers, who sold it in 1901 to the American violinist Olive Mead. Mead was a soloist for the Boston and Chicago Symphony Orchestras and founder of the Olive Mead Quartet, credited by the New York Times in 1910 as “among the best chamber music organisations in New York”.

In 1947 the ‘ex-Markees’ was sold, through Emil Hermann, to Paul Makanowitzky (1920-1998) who had been declared a child prodigy aged 9. Makanowitzky fought in the US army during World War II, returning to the violin afterwards to have a successful concert career with the pianist Noel Lee. The duo’s performances were dubbed “the best ensemble playing to be found anywhere in the world” by the Boston Herald. In the 1960s Makanowitzky accepted a teaching position at the Juilliard School of Music and, after his death in 1998, the ‘ex-Markees’ was sold to Mr. D.M.K. Wong at the Music Chamber of Hong Kong, from whom it was loaned to Leung Kin-fung, concertmaster of the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

In 2007 the ‘ex-Markees’ was consigned to Sotheby’s and sold privately to an American collector and, in 2019, was sold again by Ingles & Hayday. It remains in private ownership.

Markees stradivari image goodkind
Photographs from Herbert Goodkind: Violin Iconography of Antonio Stradivari

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