Tourte Cello Bow Sells for Nearly $200,000 at Auction

Classic Arts News   Tourte Cello Bow Sells for Nearly $200,000 at Auction
A "well-known European cellist" has paid $196,000 for an early 19th-century bow made by Fran‹ois Xavier Tourte, considered the father of the modern-day bow for string instruments.

The purchase was made last month via Tarisio, an online auction house specializing in musical instruments; the price, according to a report from Gramophone Online, is the highest ever paid at auction for a single bow.

Known as the "ex-Romberg," the bow was made between 1800 and 1810; its entire ownership history is documented, which adds considerably to its value. According to Gramophone Online, Bernard Romberg, a cellist, composer and friend of Beethoven, probably purchased the bow directly from Tourte; later owners include Alfredo Piatti, Robert von Mendelssohn (a cousin of the composer Felix), Max Adler (a cellist who married into the family that owned Sears Roebuck & Co.), and Edmund Kurtz, who died in 2004.

The bow's newest owner has chosen to remain anonymous for now, but Jason Price of Tarisio told Gramophone that he or she "will make sure it is heard frequently on concert stages around the world."

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