Dmitry Gindin: Expert and consultant in fine stringed instruments


Annibale Fagnola and Evasio Emilio Guerra

Fagnola was very close in age to the local makers Oddone, Gatti, and Marengo-Rinaldi. He did not follow the standard path of apprenticeship, but ended up achieving even greater success than practically any of his Italian peers. The first of eight sons, he grew up in Montiglio Monferrato, where he worked as a baker, but also appears to have been interested in playing and making guitars. He moved to Turin in 1894, initially continuing his first calling, but soon may have begun making violins as an independent amateur. Most experts agree that his first recognisable instruments date from around 1897.

Evasio Guerra spent his career working for other violin shops, as well as making numerous instruments independently. Although 10 years younger than Annibale Fagnola, Guerra probably began making violins before him, perhaps as an apprentice in the Francesco Guadagnini and Marengo-Rinaldi workshops; his hand is also discernible in some early instruments of Guadagnini. Carlo Oddone is, however, credited as his main mentor; it seems that Guerra also worked for him before gravitating to the Fagnola workshop. After the deaths of Paolo and Francesco Guadagnini in the 1940s, Guerra remained the final exponent of the traditional modern Turin school that had experienced an extraordinary flourish for roughly half a century beforehand. His production, however, slowed considerably during the post-war years and he died, aged 82, in his native city.