Price: $250.00

FINE CONDITION

LOUIS KAUFMAN - VIOLINIST

Autographed and inscribed 8” x 10” photograph of the American violinist holding his fiddle by Autrey of Hollywood, 1944.

Kaufman (1905-1994) became a violinist from hearing his first teacher Albert Kreitz play on his way to school. After winning a local contest his parents were fully on board.  By 10 he was touring the West Coast with a Russian immigrant husband and wife vaudeville act, the husband played the trumpet and his wife sung opera arias and imitated the choreography of Pavlova.  His father ever pushing his career took him to a Klezmer violinist named Professor Matelsky who claimed to teach “the Russian school” for lessons.  Apparently after two lessons, he told his father that the “professor” would be better off mowing lawns. After one more vaudeville trip he went home to Portland, Oregon and began studies with Frank Eichenlaub who Kaufman appreciated.  His father took him away this time to a “real teacher” Henry Bettman, who had studied with a Joachim and Ysa˙e pupil who taught him to read music and worked on his fundamentals and bowing with him.  His father brought him to play for Maud Powell and Arthur Loesser who were performing together in Portland and her advise was to take the young violinist to New York City to study with Franz Kneisel.  He also auditioned for Efrem Zimbalist who suggested the exact same thing.  In 1918 Louis and his Father headed to New York to audition for Kneisel at nthe School of Music Arts.  He was accepted though Kneisel did not have any time slots for him at the time, so he took lessons from Hugo Kortschak initially.  He spent eight years with Kneisel. During that time he became the first violist of The Musical Art Quartet. After Kneisel died in 1926, Kaufmann spent several months with Leopold Auer who had taken over Kneisel’s position temporarily after his death. At his graduation recital, the judges were Leopold Auer, Walter Damrosch and Felix Salmond. At the conclusion, Auer told Damrosch that Louis did not have to site read and when Damrosch asked Auer whether to give the young violinist 90, or 100, Auer replied “I’d give the man 150”.  The Musical Art Quartet took off in earnest after his graduation with Sacha Jacobson 1st violinist, Paul Bernard 2nd violinist and Marie Roemaer-Rosanoff cellist. In 1927 Kaufman won the Naumburg Award and made his recital debut at Town Hall on October 29, 1928 to rave reviews.  Over the next several years the Quartet performed throughout the Northeast and then in 1931 went to Europe which also gave the violinist the opportunity to perform in recital and also indulge his new hobby art collecting. (The artist Mark Rothko was a childhood friend.)  Kaufman now well established as a violin virtuoso moved to Hollywood in 1936, where Charlie Chaplin sought him to perform a violin solo in “Modern Times” and a new career was born playing solos in Hollywood films. (He played violin solos for 400 films and acted as concertmaster for the soundtracks of another 100, though IMBD only credits him for 87.) His wife Annette was a pianist and she often acted as Louis’s accompanist in recital.  Interestingly she had known him since his vaudeville days.  His most interesting accomplishment was with the help of his wife.  After World War II, they went to Europe ostensibly to do research on Vivaldi and unearthed a trove of long forgotten and neglected works which they recorded in a series of records in 1947.  That record led to a resurgence of performances of Vivaldi’s music which survives to this very day.  Kaufman also worked with the important film composers of his day, Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Darius Milhaud, Bohuslav Martinu, Francis Poulenc and Henri Sauget among others and he premiered works by all of them.  He also made the first recording of the Barber violin concerto.  Speaking of recordings, Louis issued some 100 in his lifetime.

Louis and Annette continued to collect important contemporary art, at the time of her death in 2016, she had the largest collection of the works of Milton Avery in private hands.  However, they made it their mission to never collect the art of his good friend Mark Rothko as it was not “to their taste”.

A rather elusive autograph, we have only had two others in the last 20 years.

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