The "Titian" Stradivari, 1715
Provenance By Christopher Ruening
The French violin dealer Albert Caressa dubbed this violin the "Titian" because its clear orange-red color reminded him of the famous Venetian painter.
It is among Stradivari's most important works from his golden period and is similar to the 1714 "Dolphin" on account of its compact dimensions, soft broad flames, wide purfling, and transparent ground. The two violins have two-piece backs with flames in opposite directions and share an interesting detail: the upper pins of the back show on the outer side of the purfling.
The Titian's earliest known owners were two 19th century French noblemen, first the Comte D'Evry and then the Comte de Sauzay, an amateur player who was the son-in-law of violinist Pierre Baillot. In 1872, the Titian landed in America in the hands of William Baker of Boston. In 1922, the important violinist Efrem Zimbalist purchased it from Erich Lachman.
Several years later, the violin was sold through the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company to Felix Warburg and remained in the Warburg family through the next generation. It was heard as the first violin in the Stradivari Quartet. The Rembert Wurlitzer firm in 1965 sold it to Samuel Mehlman and later to J. Irwin Miller. Today, the Titian is owned and played by the international soloist Cho-Liang Lin.