Paganini, Nicolò. (1782–1840)
A Lock of Hair from the Violinist, with a Gouache Portrait
A lock of hair from the Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer, the most celebrated violin virtuoso of his time and one the most colorful musical figures of the Romantic era. The lock measuring approx. 3 cm in diameter and including some 100+ hairs, archivally matted and framed with a period portrait to 11 x 16 inches overall. The fine portrait in gouache is unsigned and undated but was removed from an album of letters dated 1820 - 1860 so it is evidently of that period.
This substantial clipping once formed part of the collection of the the eldest son of Achilles Paganini, Andrea (1844-1918), and has come to us by descent through his heirs. For many years this item resided in the collection housed in the Villa Gaione di Parma: first by Achilles, then by his sons Andrea, Attila and Giovanni. In the first half of the 20th century, the Paganini collection was largely dispersed, with portions going to the Italian State (Biblioteca Casanatense in Rome), the Library of Congress in Washington, and to various private collectors. The present item has remained with the heirs until recently, when it was removed by Schubertiade from the original frame containing a grouping of hair clippings, identified on the reverse with a signed note from Paolo Paganini, the grand nephew of the violinist. Part of the sale of the remaining collection of the heirs of Nicolo Paganini, this item and its provenance has been reviewed and authenticated by Dr. Maria Rosa Moretti, one of the world's leading authorities on Paganini.