Francesco Goffriller (c.1691-c.1745) was a Venetian violin maker, son and pupil of Matteo Goffriller (1659-1742) who is considered the founder of the Venetian school of luthiers. Francesco left Venice for Udine in 1714 to set up his own workshop. Francesco’s instruments share similar features to those of his father. From 1690-1710, Matteo Goffriller enjoyed unrivaled dominance in the Venetian violin making trade, set up the standards of Venetian school, and had a marked influence on all of the prominent early 18th-century Venetian makers. Matteo’s work is modelled on the Cremonese school and shows the strong influence of Stradivari family. The deep red varnish typical of his work, sometimes built up to a thick, crackled texture, became a salient attribute of the Venetian school. Matteo’s cellos are highly regarded and are superior to all but those of Stradivari and Montagnana.
Cello virtuosi Pablo Casals, Alfredo Piatti, János Starker, Pierre Fournier, etc. had all played instruments from the Goffriller family. The talented British cellist Jacqueline du Pré had also owned a Francesco Goffriller cello. She was a very strong person and she needed a very strong cello. In this respect, the Goffriller cello suites her well. ‘I love it’ she said, ‘it takes the pressure and it’s survived a tough trip.’
Jacqueline du Pré and her 1740 Francesco Goffriller cello (from Tarisio)
The table of this c.1730 Francesco Goffriller violin comes from the same piece of wood of the Guarneri del Gesù violin of the same period, according to the vertical grain shown on the table. In early 18th century, due to the convenience of the maritime transport, Venetians could acquire the top quality maple materials from the Balkan Peninsula. The Goffriller family and some member from the Guarneri family active in Venice then thus benefit a lot from their advantageous location. Guarneri del Gesù in particular had the Bohemian wood of almost the same source and quality as the Goffriller family did.
Günter Pichler and Alban Berg Quartett
This violin was formerly owned by the first violin of the world-renowned Alban Berg Quartett - the noted Austrian violinist and conductor Mr. Günter Pichler. He was appointed concertmaster of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra when he was 18, and when he was 21 Herbert von Karajan engaged him as concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic. From 1963 to 2009 Pichler has been professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. The Alban Berg Quartett is considered one of the greatest ensembles of all time, having achieved legendary standards in chamber music playing. For nearly half a century, the quartett has performed regularly in music capitals and major festivals throughout the world, and has been rewarded over thirty major international disc prizes. Günter Pichler, through the world’s leading violin expert Peter Biddulph, expresses his congratulations to the Yu Art Foundation, and he is very happy that this violin could join a violin collection foundation in China and continue to serve the musicians.