Art/ Collection/ Art Object


José Massague (Spanish, Barcelona 1690–1764 Barcelona)
ca. 1755–60
Barcelona, Spain
Pine top, figured maple back and sides, rosewood binding, ivory nut, rosewood, mastic, and mother-of-pearl inlaid decoration
Credit Line:
Purchase, Clara Mertens Bequest, in memory of André Mertens, 1990
Accession Number:
Not on view
The most distinctive feature of this guitar is the inlaid ‘wave’ on the fingerboard head stock made of rosewood and accented by small pieces of mother-of-pearl. This motif can be found on other instruments by Massague including a bandurria at the Musée de la musique in Paris and another guitar located at the Museu de la música in Barcelona. The instrument has five double-courses of strings, a configuration that was standard throughout Europe in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, though when this instrument was made Spanish builders were beginning to adopt a six double-course design. José Massague was a member of the carpenters guild in Barcelona and in addition to building guitars he built violins.
Marking: (stamped) MASSAGVE/EN BA[R]CELONA on back of tuning head
Written by, Egberto Bermudez, Pepe Rey, Gerardo Arriaga, Cristina Bordas in The Spanish Guitar: La Guitarra Española. Exhibition catalogue., 1991 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1991, pg. 108-110, cat. 3, ill.

"Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1990-1991." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1991), pg. 53, ill.

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