National Music Museum Logo   National Music Museum  
Home  Collections
Virtual Tour
Calendar Gift Shop FAQ Site Index Maker Index


Images from The Pressler Gallery

Tenor Viola by Jacob Stainer, Absam bei Innsbruck, ca. 1650

NMM 3371.  Tenor viola by Jacob Stainer, Absam bei Innsbruck, ca. 1650. NMM 3371.  Side view of Stainer viola. NMM 3371.  Back view of Stainer viola.

NMM 3371. Tenor viola by Jacob Stainer, Absam bei Innsbruck, ca. 1650. Ex colls.: Hermann Hammig, Berlin; Fridolin Hamma, Stuttgart. Witten-Rawlins Collection, 1984.

This famous instrument, the only tenor viola by Jacob Stainer known to survive, has twice been exhibited in Mittenwald, Germany, in 1953 and 1959; in 1982, as part of a major exhibition, Jacobus Stainer & 18th-Century Violin Masters, at the Library & Museum of the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center in New York City; and in 1990, in the exhibition Amadeus: His Music and the Instruments of Eighteenth-century Vienna, presented by the National Music Museum at the Dahl Fine Arts Center in Rapid City, South Dakota. In 2003, the viola was loaned to the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (KHM), to be be shown in the retrospective exhibition, Jacob Stainer, that the KHM presented in Ambras Castle, overlooking Innsbruck, June 4-October 31, just a few miles from where the master craftsman lived and worked for most of his life.

Close-up of Stainer viola soundholes

Close-up of soundholes on the Stainer tenor viola.

Acquired by Laurence Witten of Southport, Connecticut, in 1961, the tenor viola came to the National Music Museum in 1984 with the Witten-Rawlins Collection of early Italian stringed instruments, and is regularly exhibited at the Museum as part of a permanent exhibition, Musical Treasures from the Age of Louis XIV.

Front of Stainer viola pegbox. Side view of Stainer viola pegbox. Back of Stainer viola pegbox.

Three views of the Stainer viola pegbox.

The Museum's tenor viola, as well as its Stainer violin, built in 1668, was x-rayed and photographed in Vienna in March 2003 for a scholarly catalog written to complement the KHM's exhibition at the Ambras Castle. Prior to the exhibition, the violin and viola underwent comparative acoustical and other scientific tests, including dendrochronology, confirming that the wood dates from before the years in which the instruments were built.

  Click arrow to continue Pressler Gallery Tour

Go to Pressler Gallery Index

Go to Virtual Gallery Tour Index

Go to Checklist of Bowed Stringed Instruments Made Before 1800

Consult the Luthier's Library for detailed measurements and photos

High-Quality Image (Actual Size) of this Viola Available from Luthier's Library of Violin and Viola Photographs

National Music Museum
The University of South Dakota
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069

©National Music Museum, 2003-2014
Most recent update: March 7, 2014

The University of South Dakota
Return to Top of Page