A nice Laberte Humbert cello made in 1920-30. Certificate J-J Rampal, Paris
Price 200 000 SEK
Son of Joseph Augustin LABERTE and Barbe Thérèse BOUCAUD, Pierre Joseph Augustin LABERTE, the instrument dealer, married Rose HUMBERT in 1845.
Among the three children born from this union were two boys: Pierre Alexis Auguste LABERTE and his brother Maurice Emile LABERTE. In 1876, the LABERTE brothers joined together to establish the firm LABERTE-HUMBERT Frères.
As early as 1911, Marc LABERTE, son of Pierre Alexis Auguste, began to play an active role in the company.
Marc LABERTE was without a doubt trained as a violin maker. At his impulse the firm LABERTE-HUMBERT Frères developed a production of high quality instruments alongside its “workshop-like” production. As a sign of legacy instruments bearing the label LABERTE HUMBERT, with or without the round stamp that reads LHF (see Iconographie), are always of the highest standard. Those bearing the label Marc LABERTE, with or without the reference to one of the instruments of his collection, are always made with careful attention to the choice of wood and craftsmanship. These best instruments were produced by a small team of skilled craftsman known as “l’Atelier des Artistes”. Joseph AUBRY, Charles BRUGERE, and Camille POIRSON, among many others, worked with this special team of violin makers.
Georges APPARUT, who joined LABERTE-HUMBERT Frères toward the end of 1902 and who remained with the firm for 21 years, was in charge of this “artistic” production.
In 1915 Marc LABERTE joined Fourier MAGNIÉ (1868-1946) and established the new firm under the name “LABERTE HUMBERT FRÈRES, FOURIER MAGNIÉ Réunis”. A comprehensive catalogue, including the complete range of products and instruments in the lutherie field was published by the firm that same year.
In 1927, the firm continued its development by buying the well-known trademark “A La Ville de Cremonne” from Paul MANGENOT. One can find this mark stamped with its characteristic triangular shape on the inside back of many good MIRECOURT violins of the 19th century. (see iconography)
Included in the deal was the use of names such as Honoré DERAZEY, Just DERAZEY, Paul MANGENOT, and Didier NICOLAS AîNÉ, the last of whom was first to have used this trademark.
Soon thereafter in that same year, a new catalogue including the recently acquired brands was published, this time under the name LABERTE & MAGNIÉ. It is interesting to note that this same catalogue includes two pages dedicated to the collection of antique Italian instruments belonging to Marc LABERTE and the “copies” available for purchase that were made after the originals. On these instruments, the label of “Marc LABERTE, Maître Luthier” appears beside a reproduction of the Italian maker’s label.
In 1931, LABERTE received the Grand Prix for the STRADIVOX MAGNÉ, a phonograph, which was produced in different versions. These attempts at diversification were made to help the firm withstand the increasing competition and recession effects during that period.
Unfortunately, World War II had terrible effects on MIRECOURT. The production of LABERTE ended completely, as the stock and production tools were stolen by the occupier.
As early as 1944 the firm resumed its activity, but the production never reached the same levels as prior to the war and slowly, in the difficult economic context, the decline of LABERTE became unavoidable.
Philippe LABERTE, Marc LABERTE’S son, joined the firm during this period and tried to maintain a production catered toward the high end of the market. Marc LABERTE died in 1963, and in 1969 Philippe LABERTE died prematurely. The great firm definitively closed its doors at the end of 1969.