MOREL & GRADOUX-MATT, INC.
In August of 1964, Mr. René A. Morel moved his shop to Jacques
Francais, Rare Violins, Inc. For the next thirty years, Mr. Francais
and Mr. Morel achieved worldwide renown in dealing and expertise with
many virtuoso string players. Their shop was unique and is recognized
by colleagues throughout the world.
February 1, 1994 Jacques Francais, Rare Violins, Inc. moved from the
premises of 250 W. 54th Street. Mr. Morel and Mr. Gradoux-Matt remained
at the same address: 250 West 54th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY
10019, and renamed the company René A. Morel rare violins, in
the tradition of Jacques Francais, Inc. In 1996, the company became
known as René A. Morel rare violins, Inc.
with the end of 2001, Morel & Gradoux-Matt, Inc. continues to set
standards for stringed instrument restoration and repair, with Mr. Morel
and Mr. Gradoux-Matt still leading the way. Mr. René A. Morel
and Mr. Emmanuel Gradoux-Matt are both inheritors of the great French
violin repair tradition and the following short résumés
serve as an overview with regard to their outstanding qualifications.
For more detail, please see their individual pages.
René A. Morel traces his violin making roots back to the eighteenth
century in Mirecourt. His grandfather, Paul Mangenot, was an instrument
maker. His father studied with him and married his daughter. Mr. Morel
began his training at the age of twelve, working in Mirecourt. He continued
his studies in Rennes, and he then returned to Mirecourt where he worked
as a violin repairer until he was eighteen years old. After completing
service in the French Air Force, he came to the United States and worked
for Kagan & Gaines in Chicago. His next employ was in the shop of
Rembert Wurlitzer in New York, who was, at the time, perhaps the leading
instrument dealer in the city. Simone F. Sacconi, an outstanding figure
in violin restoration, ran the Wurlitzer shop.
Gradoux-Matt did a year of undergraduate work in Lausanne. He went on
to graduate first in his class with distinction from the Newark Violin
Making School, which is part of the Nottingham Technical College. From
there, Mr. Gradoux-Matt worked for W.E. Hill & Sons in Great Missenden,
England as a restorer. He returned to Lausanne to be a restorer with
Pierre Gerber, a founder member of the Entente Internationale. He then
went to work as a restorer for the Bearden Violin Shop in St. Louis,
MO for a short two years. In 1985, Mr. Gradoux-Matt began to work at
the shop of Jacques Francais, Rare Violins, Inc. in New York City, where
he became foreman in 1990. Currently, at Morel & Gradoux-Matt, Inc.
he is teaching his fellow restorers in addition to repairing and restoring
some of the world's most famous instruments in collaboration with Mr.
of René A. Morel
can claim to have studied their art from the age of twelve, but
then few enjoy the international reputation of René
Morel whose early experience was gained in the workshops of
Marius Didier, Amédée Dieudonne in
Mirecourt and Bossard Bonnel in Rennes.
to 1964, he worked with Simone Sacconi at Wurlitzer's in
New York where his skill at restoration and setting up string
instruments attracted the attention of string players throughout
In 1964 he
opened his shop at Jacques Français in New York.
M. Morel applied his skill of tool handling from the French
school together with the new ideas learned with Maestro Sacconi.
For almost 30 years, he had worked to develop new systems and
methods of restoration. M. Morel's advancements are accepted
worldwide and effectively improve not only the quality of the
work, but also the sound of the instruments themselves.
1994 marked the opening in New York of René A. Morel
Rare Violins, which expanded his expertise to include dealing.
With the start of 1999, Morel & Gradoux-Matt, Inc. will
continue to restore, repair and deal instruments and bows. René
is now in constant demand for sound adjustment by all the
leading international string players, has served on the juries
of countless violin making competitions, while remaining one of
the most influential luthiers and teachers in the world.
holds offices in both the International Society of Violin and
Bow Makers (Entente) as well as the American Federation
of Violin and Bow Makers. As the Vice President of the Entente,
he is already planning for the meeting in San Francisco set for
the year 2001. When he is not cutting wood for violins, René
keeps fit by landscaping at his home far away from the city. He
enjoys being close to the earth, horticulture and gardening occupy
his free time. M. Morel also pursues hunting when he is
not otherwise engaged, although his favorite hunting ground happens
to be Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. A bon vivant, M. Morel
hopes to retire someday to his own vineyard, but in the meantime
his favorite wines can be purchased through the Sherry-Lehmann
catalogue. When he entertains here in the city, he frequents René
Pujol, Restaurant Français, 321 West 51st Street, (212)
246-3023, (212) 246-3049, La Côte Basque, 60 W. 55th Street,
(212) 688-6525, and Les Sans Culottes, 329 West 51st Street, (between
8th and 9th Avenues), (212) 582-1283, (212) 974-9052.
Email inquiries may be directed to:
Gradoux-Matt was schooled in the methods of violin-making
in both Europe and the United States. His experience in various
ateliers includes: Pierre Gerber in Lausanne, Switzerland, who
was the most prominent influence on developing his early interest
in the artistic, social, and musical aspects of the violin-making
trade, Emmanuel's short time with W.E. Hill & Sons in Great
Missenden, England, and at Jacques Francais in New York, under
the direction of René A. Morel.
17 years, Emmanuel has worked with René, developing new
methods of restoration and repair. He can often be found restoring
the world's most famous instruments, some of them major operations
which can take months or even years, especially for the very difficult
and intricate projects. Much time is also devoted to teaching
these techniques to his fellow workers. In addition, Emmanuel
does sound adjustments by appointment for some of the world's
most distinguished soloists, ensemble, and orchestra players.
Emmanuel's expertise and vast knowledge of the various violin-making
schools are the ideal complement to René's own knowledge.
Mr. Gradoux-Matt will soon publish a dictionary of violin-makers,
collected from his years of research. Emmanuel is now co-owner
and partner of Morel & Gradoux-Matt, Inc.. in which
capacity he also serves as the Vice President of the company.
Email inquiries may be directed to:
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© 2001 Morel & Gradoux-Matt Inc. All Rights Reserved