BULL, OLE

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BULL, OLE - Signed Photograph of the Great Norwegian Violinist, Holding his Violin
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BULL, OLE - Signed Photograph of the Great Norwegian Violinist, Holding his Violin

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BULL, OLE. (1810-1880). Norwegian violin virtuoso. SP. (“Ole Bull”). 1p. CDV. (Bergen, August 10, 1868). An 1867 sepia photograph of Bull holding his violin against his shoulder, signed on the lower photographer’s mount in purple ink. (To Bull’s friend and biographer JOHN J. WATSON, 1830-1902.)

 

A child prodigy, Bull’s family discouraged a musical career until Edvard Grieg, to whom he was related by marriage, intervened. Bull attended the Leipzig Conservatory, and Robert Schumann equated his abilities as a violinist to those of Niccolò Paganini. A prolific composer and performer, Bull attained popularity around the world, bolstered by Norwegian romantic nationalism at its height between the 1840s and 1860s, when Norway was subjugated by Sweden. Bull toured the United States on several occasions, even founding a colony in Pennsylvania called New Norway and marrying an American wife in 1868. 

 

On the verso of our photograph is written “This autograph of Ole Bull was obtained in Bergen, Norway August 10th, 1868, by Prof. J.J. Watson while on a visit to the great artist. The photograph from life was taken in New York in Dec 1867. Presented to Doc. L.B. Larkin by his friend J.J. Watson, Sept. 28th, 1868.” Watson was a violinist who, in 1852 while performing with The Dolcean Troupe, was billed as “the Ole Bull of America.” He twice visited Bull at his Bergen home, and announced in the 1869 issue of the Standard Phonographic Visitor, that he was at work on a biography of his friend. In addition to his own concert career, Watson was a composer, teacher and founder of the National American University of Music and Other Liberal Arts. The photograph’s recipient was likely Dr. L.B. Larkin, a physician and spiritualist. Around 1837, “Dr Larkin of Wrentham, Mass., first became interested in the investigation of animal magnetism. After some years, he found, in 1844, a good subject for his experiments in Mary Jane, a servant girl in his house. Through her mediumship, raps and teleports occurred and spirit messages were received. Reports of his experiments caused a considerable stir, and in 1847 their phenomena were investigated by a local committee. This resulted in Mary Jane being charged with ‘necromancy’ and imprisoned for sixty days in 1849. Larkin was expelled from his church and persecuted by his neighbors until he signed a declaration saying that he did not believe in ‘communion with spirits,’” (Spiritualism and Society,Nelson). Larkin and Watson likely shared an interest in both music and spiritualism; Watson’s arrangement of a song entitled “The Haunted Ground” was published in the 1885 volume The Missing Link in Modern Spiritualism by A. Leah Underhill.

 

Normal wear. Signature is a little light. In very good condition and uncommon.

 

 

Item #20167

Verso


This autograph will be auctioned live on May 23, 2018. For more information and to place your bid click the "BID NOW!" button above.
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