Gemünder Violin

Description (Brief)
This violin was made by George Gemünder in Astoria, New York around 1868-1872. This Guarneri model violin, while worn from years of use, shows many elements of George Gemünder's talent in creating direct copies of old instruments. In the book that was both written and published by him in 1881, The Violin: George Gemünder's Progress in Violin Making (with Interesting Facts Concerning the Art and Its Critics in General), he related the experience of submitting one of his Guarneri model violins to the 1873 Vienna Exhibition:
“In the Exhibition of Vienna, my violin was mistaken for a genuine Cremonese violin, not only for its tone, but for its outer appearance which was so striking an imitation according to Joseph Guarnerius
that a newspaper of Vienna made the observation “George Gemünder cannot make us Germans believe that the violin sent by him is new. A bold Yankee, only, can put his name in a genuine instrument in order
to make himself renowned.”
This violin is made of one-piece table of spruce, two-piece back of maple cut on the quarter with an irregular broad ascending figure, ribs are of similar maple, the maple neck-graft terminates in the original maple pegbox and scroll, and a golden-orange varnish.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Gemunder, George
Physical Description
spruce (table material)
maple (back material)
overall: 23 3/4 in x 8 in x 3 1/2 in; 60.325 cm x 20.32 cm x 8.89 cm
Place Made
United States: New York, Queens, Astoria
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Music & Musical Instruments
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

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