The 1715 “Titian” Stradivarius violin stands as one of the great master’s finest achievements, both in terms of its physical form and its sonic beauty and power. Over the course of 150 years, it made its way to the instrument shop of Caressa and Français in Paris. Albert Caressa nicknamed the violin “Titian” because its orange-red color reminded him of the paintings of the famed Titian, whose striking use of color stood above other artists of the 16th-century Venetian School of painters.
Hamburg banker Felix M. Warburg acquired it in 1937. An amateur violinist, Warburg was in possession of three other Strads: the 1723 “Spanish” violin, the 1701 “MacDonald” viola, and the 1725 “Gallay” cello. Warburg’s son, Gerald, played the “Gallay” cello, and started a string quartet known as the Stradivarius Quartet so his father’s Strads could be heard in concert together. First violin Wolf Wolfinsohn played the “Titian.”
After Felix Warburg’s death, his Stradivari collection passed to Gerald, who sold the “Titian” to a private collector in 1965, before the great Strad eventually came into the accomplished hands of current owner, violinist Cho-Liang Lin.