||Matthias Klotz (1653-1743)
Matthias Klotz (Mathias Khlotz, Khloz, Cloz) was baptized on June 11, 1653 in Mittenwald´s St. Peter and Paul Catholic church; he was the second child of Urban Klotz (Vrbanus Cloz, 16271691), a tailor, and his wife Sophia (d. 1681).
He died in Mittenwald at age 90 on August 16, 1743 as a highly respected man in Mittenwald documents he was repeatedly described as a world renown lute and violin maker and was buried in the cemetary next to the St. Nikolaus church.
The workshop, teacher and town where Matthias Klotz learned his craft (ca. 1665) is not known. One can say that his stylistic tendencies and the details of his craftsmanship are indicative of his having most likely learned his trade in a workshop of the Füssen "school". This assumption is partly based on the fact that on many labels and in many documents of the time having to do with Matthias Klotz his profession is referred to as that of a Lautenmachers, which was the term most commonly used in the Füssen guild of lute makers.
From 1672 to 1678 he is documented as having been a journeyman in the Bottega di Lautaro al Santo. This was the name of the emigrated Allgaeu lute maker Pietro Railich´s workshop in Padua; there are still a number of Railich´s lutes in existence.
What Klotz then did until the time he set up his own shop in Mittenwald is unknown. There are limits to the what further research can uncover due to the spotty archival records left after the plundering of Mittenwald in the Spanish War of Succession in 1703.
Certificate for Matthias Klotz's Journeyman´s years in the Railich workshop in Padua
Mittenwald, Violin making museum
Klotz spent the years from 1672 to 1678 as a journeyman with Pietro Railich,
a lute maker who had emigrated from Fuessen to Padua. Klotz later received a letter
of certification for his work there, which, for unknown reasons, was first signed in 1702 both
by a notary public and Railich´s son and successor, Giovanni.
Family and self-employment
Somewhere around the end of 1685 / the beginning of 1686, Matthias Klotz married Maria Seiz, a weaver´s daughter. On February 4, 1686, his father-in-law gave him a house in Gries, an area of Mittenwald.
This gave Klotz, who was at this time first designated as a Bürger und Lautenmacher (citizen and lute maker) all the requirements of his time for setting up his own business: citizenship (born in Mittenwald, that was a given fact), marriage and property. Mittenwald offered him other positive prerequisites: the potential for selling his instruments through trade going both north and south, rich natural resources (wood, in particular maple and spruce) and a lack of competition.
In the course of the next decades Matthias Klotz purchased a number of other houses, gardens and fields. He moved his workshop a number of times: from the workshop in Gries to a workshop in the Oberen Markt and then to another one in the Herrengasse.
During the course of his marriage to Maria Seiz (d. Dec. 28, 1704), six children were born, two of whom, Georg I and Sebastian I, became violin makers.
On July 9, 1705 Matthias Klotz married a second time, this time to Ursula Schaendl (d. April 6, 1735), born Schlaucher, who was the widow of Matthias Schaendl, a butcher. She brought three children into the marriage with her, one of whom, Michael Schaendl, also became a violin maker. Three further children were born into this marriage: one of these children, Johann Carol, also became a violin maker.
Students and Successors
Matthias Klotz´s workshop served as the beginning of violin making in Mittenwald. There are a number of Mittenwald men who can be assumed to have been his students (listed in the probable order of their apprenticeships):
most likely his younger brother, Johann Klotz (1664after 1709)
Andreas Jais (16851753)
his son Georg I Klotz (16871737)
Martin Dieffenbrunner (Tieffenbrunner, 1687after 1720)
Johannes Daenzl (Tentzel, 16921728)
Nikolaus Woernle (Woerle, 1695after 1720)
his son Sebastian I Klotz (16981775)
his stepson Michael Schaendl (16981749)
his son Johann Carol Klotz (17091769)
Martin Bader (fl. 17301736)
and Johannes Jais (17151765), the son of Andreas Jais.
It is most likely that there were not only apprentices in Matthias Klotz´s workshop, but that for a long time his sons and, possibly, other journeymen also worked there. Klotz´s eldest son Georg I stayed in the workshop until he founded his own shop in 1715. Sebastian I, the second son, married in 1724 and set up his own workshop as of this time: since he lived in one half of his father´s house (his parents sold him this half of the house formally in 1728) he remained in close physical proximity to his father´s workshop. Klotz´s younger son, Johann Carol, who was also a violin maker, stayed in his father´s workshop until his marriage in 1735.
On July 21, 1736, at the age of 83, Matthias Klotz put in an application to divide and turn over his house to his two sons Sebastian and Johann Carol, who may then be assumed to be his successors.
The oldest instruments that can be clearly identified as having been made by Matthias Klotz are dated from 1712, which was when he was 59. There are only a very few violins and gambas still in existence that are clearly authentic, although there are a larger number of other instruments that still need a comparative analysis and investigation in order to determine their authenticity.
Viola 1712, privately owned
Violin 1714, Geigenbauschule Mittenwald
Bass-Viola da Gamba 1715, privately owned
Violine 1725, privately owned
Violine 1727, privately owned
There is a quite complete list giving an overall view of the instruments both made by Matthias Klotz and those simply attributed to him in Layer 1959 (p. 20 onwards).
The curious lack of verifiable instruments made by Matthias Klotz before 1712 has brought forth two hypotheses:
- Hypothesis 1: Matthias Klotz actually made few instruments in these years because he had to primarily devote himself to the occupations usual to his time and to his situation in Mittenwald: farming, retailing, realty and minstrelsy. The high quality of his later instruments and the large number of apprentices in his workshop make this hypothesis questionable.
- Hypothesis 2: Matthias Klotz´s early instruments are simply not identifiable. The were unsigned/unlabeled because the customers of this time placed no particular value on it; stringed instruments still did not have the high status they were later to attain. Klotz´s instruments would have been given false, most likely Italien labels at some point within the last centuries or, after major repairs and/or changes made to them, are not clearly identifiable any more. The instruments that came out of his workshop are so individually unique that it is almost impossible to make a comparative analysis.
There are two forms of printed violin labels from Matthias Klotz that that we know to be genuine:
Mathias Khlotz, Lautenmacher
in Mittenwaldt, Anno 17
Hand printed in German gothic print, even left-sided margin, no decorative border, seen with dates between 17121715.
Mathias Kloz, Lautenmacher
in Mittenvvaldt, Anno 17
Hand printed in baroque Italien roman print, "Lautenmacher" in German gothic print, even left-sided margin, with or without a simple decorative border, seen with dates between 17251727.
Baader 2/1936, 142ff. Beare 1980. Cervelli 1968, 316f. Focht/Loebner/Zunterer 1997, 76-78. Klinner 1983. Klinner 1994. Layer 1959. Lütgendorff 6/1922. Lütgendorff/Drescher 1990. Senn 1958.
Adolf Layer´s monograph (1959) includes an extensive biography, a list of Klotz's work and a listing of the archival sources.
Mittenwald, Pfarrarchiv St. Peter und Paul
München, Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv
Fresco on the facade of a house in Mittenwald
Gerd Ester (1970)
The sense we have about what Matthias Klotz actually looked like has been
dominated for over 100 years by the image portrayed on the memorial statue
of Matthias Klotz from 1890 that was designed by Ferdinand von Miller