The Makers

Victor François Fétique


Victor François Fétique

Victor François Fétique (1872-1933) was born in Mirecourt on 9 August to the violinmaker, Charles Claude Fétique.

A marginal note in the birth registration indicates his birth was legitimised in the eyes of the authorities shortly after. The luthier Claude Somny, witnessed the birth registration.

Fétique served his apprenticeship under Charles Claude Husson and continued his training with Sigisbert Fournier Maline, Émile Miquel, and Charles Nicolas Bazin.  The Mirecourt census, taken in the spring of 1901, shows him in his home town living at, 3 Avenue de l’École normale, and employed by Bazin. Later in the same year he went to work for Caressa & Français, in Paris, in 1901 and there met Claude Thomassin.

He set up on his own account in Paris in 1913. Like many of his peers he often made bows with nickel-silver mounts in these early days of independence. As he became more established he consolidated his own style: the heads are small but regular, the frogs with narrow throats, and frequently he uses one-piece buttons with two pins.

It is in the period 1915-33 that the bulk of his output was produced. He was helped at this time by Jules, his younger brother, and also by outworkers. From 1921-6 Fétique bought bows from Mirecourt makers, Albert Thomassin (brother of Claude), Auguste Toussain, Camille Rémi, Louis Joseph Morizot and others, which he then finished/modified and branded with his own mark. He was also assisted by his son, Marcel Gaston, and from 1927 by his nephew, André Richaume.

The work by Victor himself, and his family members, is of a very high standard and fully justifies his rank amongst the most important makers of the 20th century. The reworked workshop bows are less consistent and of a lesser quality but certainly should not be overlooked. The more expert (and honest) dealers sometimes describe these bows as ‘workshop’, or ‘collaboration’, or ‘finished, signed and sold by’, but such fine discrimination is not always evident.

Fétique also supplied other makers/dealers and their stamps may be the ones used, these include; Caressa & Français, Chanot et Chardon, ‘Nadegini’, Paul Jombar, Maucotel et Deschamp and Alfed Vidoudez.

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Victor François Fétique