Lot 126 View Catalog
Francisco Simplicio (1874-1932) started studying classical guitar luthiery with Enrique Garcia in 1919. Garcia, who was an apprentice of Manuel Ramírez, is considered the founder of the Barcelona or Catalan school of guitar making, and he inspired acclaimed luthiers like Simplicio and Ignacio Fleta. When Garcia passed away on October 30, 1922, Simplicio continued building guitars in Garcia’s shop located at Paseo San Juan #110 in Barcelona. For about three years after Garcia died, Simplicio affixed Garcia’s labels inside of the guitars he built, but once he established a reputation for the merits of his own work he started using his own labels. Simplicio completed a total of 336 guitars between Garcia’s death and his own passing on January 14, 1932.
In 1927, the same year that this guitar was built, Simplicio started to make his own statement as a luthier by introducing a few changes to his building techniques. Most notably, the body size of his guitars increased and the scale lengthened slightly from 647mm to 650mm. It also features a rosewood tornavoz—a conical device mounted inside the guitar surrounding the soundhole, which is designed to enhance projection. The label inside this guitar is Simplicio’s own, printed “Francisco Simplicio, Luthier, Suc.y unico discipulo de Enrique Garcia, primer premio en la ex fon de Chicago 1893, Calle, Guitarra Barcelona,” signed by Francisco Simplicio, and featuring a handwritten address, year, and serial number.
Simplicio’s guitars are immediately recognizable for their elaborate relief-carved ebony overlays that adorn the instruments’ headstocks. This particular example’s headstock carving depicts a Greek goddess playing a lyre and features gold-painted details. This presentation model features numerous other exquisite decorative details. Multi-colored wood marquetry surrounds the rosette, top, back, and even the tuner slots. The saddle, nut, and tuning pegs are elephant ivory, and the tuner buttons are mother-of-pearl. The Brazilian rosewood back has distinctive and unusual burled figuring. This guitar was likely one of the instruments that Simplicio displayed at the 1929 World’s Fair in Barcelona, where he received a gold medal for his craftsmanship. It is a stunning concert-grade guitar with powerful tone that is as beautiful as its appearance.
Argentinean classical guitarist Maria Luisa Anido purchased this guitar in 1932 after Simplicio passed away. Anido was a protégé of classical guitarist Miguel Llobet and Andrés Segovia proclaimed her a prodigy after witnessing one of her performances in her preteens. Anido’s concert performance career flourished from the 1930s through ’50s, and she wrote numerous compositions for guitar between 1927 and 1962. Anido passed away on June 4, 1996 in Tarragona, Spain.
Serial number: 146
Top: European spruce
Back and sides: Rosewood
Bridge: Tie block
Tuners: Machine with engraved gold-plated baseplates