The Makers

Eugène Nicolas Sartory

1871 – 1946

Sartory 2

In 1886 Sartory lived at 7 Rue du Breuil, Mirecourt. He was already working as a bowmaker with his father, Joseph, and brother, Jean Baptiste Émile (aka Émile Eugène). It is probable that he began at the age of twelve or thirteen.

Around 1887-8 he went to Paris and worked under Charles Peccatte and then Alfred Lamy père before setting up on his own in 1889 at 12 Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle.

From the 1890s Sartory began to employ assistants including, reputedly, Hermann Wilhelm Prell and later Otto Hoyer.

In 1902 he moved to 13 Faubourg Poissonnière. Particularly during these early years some of Sartory’s bows or bow parts were made for other violinmakers and dealers and, occasionally, were fitted with nickel-silver mounts. By the time of his move to Rue de Madrid in 1911 he had established many private clients of his own and a high degree of independence.

Before leaving for war in August 1914, he produced four gold and tortoiseshell violin bows which are considered to be amongst his finest work.

His military record shows his diminutive size (1.52 metres) which resulted in his placement in the auxiliary service.

His various addresses in 1914 indicate the disruption of war.

He was deemed unfit for continued service in 1918 due to pulmonary emphysema and ulceration of the leg. His participation in the German campaign from 20 March – 17 September 1915 is noted.

After the First World War Sartory established what has come to be considered the most highly regarded bow making workshop of the period. He employed many notable bow makers including Louis Morizot père, Jules Fétique and Louis Gillet.

His fame brought illegal copyists and he spent time in the United States in the 1920s fighting a legal case to stop the sale of these falsely branded bows, with very limited success.

Stylistically he came of age c.1900-05 when the definitive form of his bow heads was established following the earlier development of his characteristic, slightly longer, frogs in the late 1890s. The last stylistic change of significance came in the 1930s with thicker bows and an increasing use of octagonal sticks often of light-coloured wood.

Eugène Nicolas Sartory died on 5 March, 1946 and was buried in his birthplace, Mirecourt.