This violin has the look of power!
There are a lot of commercially produced German violins from around the turn of the 20th century that bear the stamp of Label “Ole Bull”. This may have been one of the first acts of commercial celebrity endorsement. Ole Bull was a virtuoso violinist, and most of these factory-made violins are poorly made, and by now are in disrepair. While it is still a German factory instrument, this is the best Ole Bull instrument that I have seen.
This violin has a lightly flamed 2-piece maple back with matching sides and neck. The varnish is a dark brown linseed oil varnish with areas of lighter brown. The modeling is a Stradivarius Grand-Pattern, and the arching is nice and deep.
This violin is in Excellent condition with only minor varnish damage, and no cracks or repairs.
The tone is nice, but not terribly robust. This is an excellent student level violin.
Information about Ole Bull from Wikipedia:
After living for a while in Germany, where he pretended to study law, he went to Paris but fared badly for a year or two. In 1832 in Paris he shared rooms with the Moravian violin virtuoso Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst, who introduced Bull to the style of Paganini. He was eventually successful in becoming a high-level virtuoso, giving thousands of concerts. In England alone these included 274 in 1837, during which visit he also travelled to some of the more remote parts of Britain.Bull became very famous and made a huge fortune. He is believed to have composed more than 70 works, but only about 10 are known today. Best known is Sæterjentens søndag (The dairymaid’s Sunday). He also was a clever luthier, after studies in Paris with Vuillaume. He collected many beautiful violins and violas of Amati, Gasparo da Salò, Guarneri, Stradivari and others. He was the owner of one of the finest violins of the world, made by Gasparo da Salò about 1574 for Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria. He played a Guarneri del Gesù. The violin, a gift of his widow to Bull’s birthplace, is now in the Bergen Vestlandske Kustindustrimuseum. A commercial signature line of Ole Bull violins was manufactured in Germany.
Bull was caught up in the rising tide of Norwegian romantic nationalism and acclaimed the idea of Norway as a sovereign state, separate from Sweden, an idea which would become reality in 1905. In 1850, he co-founded the first theater in which the actors spoke the Norwegian language, rather than Danish, namely Det Norske Theater in Bergen, which later became Den Nationale Scene.
In the summer of 1858, Bull met the 15-year-old Edvard Grieg. Bull was a friend of the Grieg family, since Ole Bull’s brother was married to the sister of Grieg’s mother. Bull noticed Edvard’s talent and persuaded his parents to send him to further develop his talents at the Leipzig Conservatory.
Robert Schumann once wrote that Bull was among “the greatest of all,” and that he was on a level with Niccolò Paganini for the speed and clarity of his playing. Bull was also a friend of Franz Liszt and played with him on several occasions.