The Hausmann Stradivari Cello of 1724

According to the Hill book entitled “Antonio Stradivari, His Life and Work”, this instrument was in Spain at the beginning of the nineteenth century. It was probably between 1815 and 1830 that it was taken to France.

The famed English collector Andrew Fountaine bought it in Paris and in 1839 sold it to the German cellist George Hausmann (1814-1861), who spent part of his life in Scotland. Soon after his death, the cello went to his nephew Robert Hausmann, in Germany.

Robert Hausmann (1852-1909) was a cellist who had an outstanding career both as a soloist and as a quartet player. He was one of the first cello students to be accepted at the Berlin Hochschule, which opened its doors in 1869. Violinist Joseph Joachim welcomed him warmly and was his mentor. In 1879, Hausmann became a member of the Joachim String Quartet where he remained 28 years, until the death of Joseph Joachim in 1907.

Hausmann and his Strad took part in many historic concerts. Among the most famous are the premieres, on November 14, 1886, in Berlin, of Brahms’ Second Cello Sonata, Op. 99, dedicated to Hausmann and, on October 18, 1887, in Cologne, of Brahms’ Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra, dedicated to Joachim and Hausmann. When the Double Concerto was played in Vienna in 1889, music critic Edward Hanslick wrote about the exceptional triumphs of Joachim, “the king of violinists” and of Hausmann, “a virtuoso in no way inferior to Joachim”. Hausmann was one of the last cellists not to use an end-pin. He was famous for his technical mastery and his tone was always praised for its warmth, roundness and uncommon power. It all reflects on how well he took advantage of his magnificent cello, known since his death as “the Hausmann”.

After Hausmann’s death, the cello remained the property of his widow until 1928, when Max Adler, of Chicago, acquired it through the instrument dealers Emil Hermann and W. H. Hammig.

The cello was acquired in 1944 by the prominent Russian virtuoso Edmund Kurtz. Mr. Kurtz also owned for some time the “Suggia” Strad cello and during his long career, he had occasion to play many of the most famous Strad cellos but he always considered the Hausmann one of the finest and best sounding Strads of all times.