Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri “DEL GESU” 1732 “Kaston”

4 Apr 2018

The “Kaston” Guarneri "Del Gesu” of 1732 is a very fine example of Guarneri’s middle period and was performed on by some of the greatest violinists of the 20th century, including the legendary Jascha Heifetz. The famous jazz violinist Florian Zabach also used the “Kaston “ as his main violin for his monumental recordings in the 1950s. Henryk Kaston also purchased this violin from Rembert Wurlitzer in 1972, and preferred this Guarneri to his fine 1725 “Ex-Wilhemj” Stradivari violin, which is now currently owned by the Nippon Foundation in Tokyo, Japan

While Henryk Kaston owned this violin, he would lend it occasionally to the great Jascha Heifetz who was very fond of this Guarneri “Del Gesu” and who favorably compared it to his 1740 “Ex-David” Del Gesu violin. The “Kaston” has many similar features to the “Baltic” Guarneri of 1731 (including nearly identical f-holes), which is currently on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum.

List of Known owners/Players/dealers

  • Pellegrini, Mr.Enrico- Italy (c.1890)
  • Forster Family (c.1915,columbus Ohio)
  • Herten, Mr.Gustavo(c.1930, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • Rembert Wurlitzer(c.1945, New York)
  • Zabach, Mr.Florian(c.1950,New York)
  • Kaston,Mr.Henryk (1973 New York)
  • Jacques Francais(c.1979, New York)
  • Dr.Herbert Axelrod (c.1998, New York)
  • New Jersey Symphony Orchestra(c. 2003, New Jersey)
  • Rembert Wurlitzer New York May 3rd 1973
  • Jacques Francois New York December 11th 1976
  • The Jacques Francois Rare Violins, Inc. 1844-1998
  • Evelyn&Herbert Axelrod Stringed Instrument Collection 2002
Violinist Florian Zabach playing on the 1732 Guarneri "Del Gesù"
"Kaston" Guarneri Del Gesù (Detail of the F-holes)
Henryk Kaston with Isaac Stern, circa 1988. Stern owned many bows crafted by Kaston, and also owned 2 Guarneri "Del Gesù Violins. Henryk Kaston would occasionally loan his Guarneri to the legendary violinist Jascha Heifetz when Kaston played in the New York Metropolitan Opera.