A Beautiful French Violin After Vuillaume From Laberte And For Chapuis.
Striking figurations of tight irregular flame, match-booked for a back of 361mm, with wider, wavier selections of maple for the sides and scroll, and a scintillating specimen of spruce for the top. Golden honey colored varnish of admirable translucence and tastefully light antiquing. Altogether, presenting in very good condition, less minor signs of wear commensurate with its age and dating to the second quarter of the 20th century. An exciting example of higher end trade instruments from the production of Laberte, bearing two interior labels: “Modele Apres Jean Baptist’s Vuillaume a Paris” and “M. Chapuis a Lyon.” The latter, for whom it was made for resale.
Marc André Joseph Laberte (1880 - 1963) inherited the family workshop founded by his father, Pierre Alexis Laberte and Maurice-Emile Laberte in 1876. Although records indicate that he was actively involved as both a luthier and bow maker as early as 1911, he would inherit the leadership role at the firm only a few years later in 1915. Under his leadership the firm flourished and grew, collecting and producing both master instruments and renowned craftsman such as Gerorge Apparut, Charles Brugère, and Camille Poirson, to name a few. In 1919, he had successfully managed a merger with Fourier Magnié to establish Laberte-Humbert Frères, Fourier Magnié Réunis, which employed over 300 tradesman by the following year. André Emile Philippe Laberte would pick up his fathers mantle as the fifth generation luthier to manage the company but struggled to maintain production, distribution, and further diversification through the turmoil of WWII.
Higher end trade fiddles from the upper echelon of Mirecourt making firms of the first half of the 20th century are increasingly in demand as competitive alternatives to the more expensive Chinese and contemporary Bulgarian instruments prevalent through the market today; priced still significantly lower than well regarded modern makers and offering a tradition in craftsmanship and performance spanning over a centennial now and some generations of dedicated musicians.