The instrument has been purchased by the North Rhine-Westphalia government in Germany for use by the violinist
Frank Peter Zimmermann is to regain access to his 1711 ‘Lady Inchiquin’ Stradivarius thanks to the generosity of the North Rhine-Westphalia government in Germany, which has bought the violin as part of a consignment of artistic objects.
In February 2015 Zimmermann was forced to give up the instrument – his principal performing violin for 13 years – when its owner, the Düsseldorf-based bank WestLB AG failed. The bank’s legal successor, Portigon Financial Services AG, made the decision to auction off its collection of artworks, valued at €100–150m, including the ‘Lady Inchiquin’.
At the time Zimmermann’s loan contract did include a preferred-buyer option and the musician duly made an offer to purchase the instrument based on independent appraisals. But Portigon was seeking a larger sum.
On Monday NRW culture minister Christina Kampmann signed a contract, according to German media, enabling Dusseldorf’s State Foundation to buy some 300 artworks from Portigon’s collection, valued around €30m. The sum has been provided as a loan by the publicly owned NRW Bank. Kampmann confirmed that the government will hand back the ‘Lady Inchiquin’ to Zimmermann, and expressed her relief that the collection of artworks will again be made available to the public.
Zimmermann is currently performing on the 1727 ‘General Dupont’, ‘Grumiaux’ Stradivarius, which was loaned to him for an initial period of two years by Chinese entrepreneur, philanthropist and amateur violinist Mr Yu in January of this year. Famously played by Arthur Grumiaux, the instrument was purchased in February 2015 through Rare Violins of New York for an undisclosed sum – making the violin the first Stradivarius to be owned by a private individual on the Chinese mainland.