Amédée-Dominique Dieudonné (1890-1960) was born in Mirecourt France the son of luthier Albert Dieudonné. Amédée hardly knew his father as his father left his mother when Amédée was only eight months old. His parents divorced three years later. Due to his fondness for alcohol, Albert was only able to be employed in luthiers' workshops by the day on those mornings when he had abstained. Amedee's mother Cécile was the daughter of Dominique Benoit. The Benoit family specialised in making violin necks.
At the age of 14, he began studying violin making with Gustave Bazin. He stayed with Bazin for five years and was also learning to play the violin. Following this, Dieudonné was employed by the Brussels firm Darché and then by Germain in Paris. He fought in the First World War and was wounded twice during his military service. He was awarded the Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur, the Médaille militaire and the Croix de guerre with five citations. LIke many men of his generation, he was gassed during his war service and as a result suffered from poor health after the war.
In 1919, he attempted to start a workshop in Lille and he married the same year. Dieudonné then chose to return his birthplace of Mirecourt around 1920 where he established his own workshop starting with three assistants. He was very prolific over the following 40 years producing violins for his own label and also for a variety of companies including Mangenot, Laberte, Blanchard, Moenning, Wurlitzer and Millant. Some of these violins have Dieudonné's own label which he signed by hand whereas others have been provided with workshop trade labels.
Above: 1936 Amédée-Dominique Dieudonné violin restored in the workshop of Animato Strings - it is now sold.
Above: A violin made for the occasion of his daughter Marguerite's sixteenth birthday
Dieudonné in his workshop with his workers and apprentices
Dieudonné's work demonstrates exceptional craftsmanship based on the Cremonese school. Many luthiers trusted him to help them select wood and accessories for their instruments. Their regard was such that they also apprenticed their children to him. He was able to train more than twenty apprentices during his career including Marcel Thomassin, René Quenoil, Michel Lotte and Gustave Bazin’s son René. He also employed experienced luthiers like his contemporary Eugène Maucotel who had also trained with Gustave Bazini.
For a several years, he conducted a symphony orchestra and gave violin lessons. Dieudonné continued to work consistently running his workshop until 1956. He died in 1960. Amédée Dieudonné made his name internationally by crafting artistically perfect replicas of exceptional historical instruments.