Wersja polska | Polish version

The Frederick Chopin Museum
at the
Frederick Chopin Society in Warsaw

    The Library, one of the few Chopin libraries in the world, at present contains about 20 000 inventory items: periodicals and books from the years 1852-2002 in many languages, including Japanese, music scores - from first editions to modern ones, including collected editions of Chopin works and editions of the works of other composers - as well as programmes, posters and 424 books from the library of Mateusz Glinski, donated by his wife. The collection of recordings (a total of 4700) is composed of gramophone records and CDs, reel tapes and cassettes as well as video cassettes with films on Chopin themes.

    The most valuable collection stores recordings by Ignacy Friedmann, Jozef Hofman, Raul Koczalski, Witold Malcuzynski, Aleksander Michalowski, Henryk Neuhaus, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Artur Rubinstein, Jozef Smidowicz, Jerzy Zurawlew and Claudio Arrau, Alfred Cortot, Roza Etkin, Vladimir Horowitz and Margerita Long, etc. as well as recordings by participants of the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competitions, held in Warsaw every five years since 1927, except for the period during the War Two.

    The Collection of Photographs contains negatives, positives and microfilms of museum collections and libraries (first editions), together with Chopin collections in private and state collections in Poland and abroad.

    The Chopin Museum attaches great importance to correctly cataloguing each item. The catalogue of the Museum collections which, apart from a description of a given item, also takes into consideration such elements as the original state of the item, conservation work, origin, bibliography and participation in exhibitions, and indexes of names, localities, addresses and objects. The central catalogue of Chopiniana as well as auxiliary files is systematically supplemented.

    Apart from a catalogue of the authors and the subjects of books, the Library contains the following catalogues: alphabetical, according to titles of periodicals and the issue numbers, first editions, and alphabetical catalogues according to the titles of works and publishers of later and collected editions, and transcriptions of Chopin works.

    The Collection of Recordings has the following catalogues: alphabetical, according to titles of compositions, performers (pianists) and record companies as well as an alphabetical catalogue of the works of other composers (according to their surnames).

    The Collection of Photographs has at its disposal three catalogues: topographic, personal and of objects, which encompass the following sections:

  1. the works of Chopin - original sources (autographs entities and sketches), original prints (French, German,English), other editions (according to publishers)
  2. documents and mementos connected with Chopin
  3. Chopin iconography (old and contemporary)
  4. iconography of the composer's places of residence (old and contemporary)
  5. letters by Chopin and about Chopin
  6. the times of Chopin - documents and iconography of his contemporaries
  7. the popularisation of Chopin works - competitions and festivals
  8. the activity of the Frederick Chopin Society - visits, ceremonies and concerts
  9. the activity of persons connected with the propagation of the Chopin heritage.

    All the collections belonging to the Frederick Chopin Society are systematically subjected to cleaning, conservation and microbiological checks.

    Chopin's birthplace at Zelazowa Wola

    Chopin's mother's room

    The exhibition programme pursued by the Museum since 1955 has developed considerably since 1969. The permanent exhibition prepared in the present-day version and curated by Hanna Wroblewska-Straus: Chopin in His Native Land and Abroad is featured together with the Study of Prof. Jerzy Zurawlew in Ostrogski Castle in Warsaw, 1 Okolnik Street. The visitors may use audio guides in five languages (Polish, French, English, German and Japanese). Audio guides are also available in the Frederick Chopin Birthplace in Zelazowa Wola and the Chopins' Drawing Room in the Czapski (formerly Krasinski) Palace in Warsaw, 5 Krakowskie Przedmiescie Street.

    Apart from the permanent exhibitions held in Warsaw and Zelazowa Wola, the Museum organises temporary displays in its own building and elsewhere, both in Poland and abroad. From 1955 to 2001, the Museum held over 100 exhibitions, domestic and foreign, making available original collections and photographic reproductions. These events were not only connected with Chopin themes but also dealt with Karol Szymanowski (jointly with the Archive of Polish Twentieth-Century Composers at the Library of Warsaw University), Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Mieczyslaw Karlowicz (together with the Warsaw Music Society), Jozef Elsner (jointly with the National Library), Duszniki at the time of Chopin and in later years (from the collection of Rudolf Golebiowski).

    The music salon in Chopin's birthplace at Zelazowa Wola

    Exhibitions of great artistic importance included the display of portraits of Frederick Chopin and George Sand by Eugène Delacroix from 1838, featured by the Frederick Chopin Society in the Museum Hall of Ostrogski Castle from 27 November to 3 December 1979. The display of both parts of the famous double portrait, initiated by the Society for Polish-French Friendship, was supplemented by autographs of the Polish composer and the French novelist. The portrait of Chopin was loaned by the Louvre Museum and the portrait of George Sand by the Ordrupgaard in Copenhagen. This was the first occasion when both portraits were seen together in Chopin's homeland.

    The exhibition Teofil Kwiatkowski 1809-1891, organised in Ostrogski Castle on the hundredth anniversary of his death, deserves special mention. This was the first monographic exhibition of this artist based on Polish collections.

    Exhibition on the painter Teofil Kwiatkowski [1809-1891] at Ostrogski Castle, 1991

    The opening ceremony at the Chopin
    Exhibition at the Suntory in Tokyo, 1998

    Exceptional exhibitions held abroad include:
  10. Chopin Yesterday and Today (Tokyo, Koriyama, Osaka, 6 March - 10 May 1970)
  11. Chopin - Citizen of the World (Marianske Lazne and Prague, 12 August-8 October 1972)
  12. Frederick Chopin 1810-1849 and International Chopin Competitions 1927-1980 (Gandava 1985)
  13. Chopin (Tokyo, April-May 1988)
  14. Chopin and Liszt (Budapest 20 March - 17 April 1997)
  15. Frederick Chopin 1810-1849 (Tokyo and Osaka 1999/2000)
  16. The Museum also arranges exhibitions accompanying the International Chopin Symposia. In October 1986, the exhibition entitled The Works of Chopin was featured in Ostrogski Castle on the occasion of the symposium on Chopin and Romanticism, organised jointly with the National Library, while in December 1988 the Museum showed Frederick Chopin, George Sand. Portraits, Letters, Souvenirs, accompanying the Chopin in Literature colloquium.

    Particular attention is attached to exhibitions presented in Ostrogski Castle and in the National Philharmonic Hall during the International Chopin Competitions. On this occasion, the following exhibitions were featured:
  17. Frederick Chopin Yesterday and Today (1970)
  18. The Portrait of Frederick Chopin (1975)
  19. Chopin's Mementos Close to Our Heart (1985)
  20. The Romantic Journey of Frederick Chopin and George Sand to Majorca (1990; jointly with the F. Chopin and G. Sand Museum in Valdemosa)
  21. The Region of Nohant / Chopin's Nohant (1990; photographs by Jean-Baptiste Huyhn from France)
  22. With Music Throughout the World (1990, posters )
  23. In Honour of Frederick Chopin - (1990; sculptures by Andrzej Renes)
  24. Chopin and Liszt (1-30 October 1995)
  25. Chopin Fame Resounding Far and Wide (1999; 2000)
  26. Fryderyk Chopin and the Kolberg Brothers. The Artists and their Epoch. Friendship. Work. Inspirations (2005)
  27. Exhibition on Chopin and Liszt at Ostrogski Castle, 1995

    The Exhibition 'Homepage to
    Chopin by Children' at Ostrogski
    Castle, 1986

    The Museum also engages in editorial work, the publication of posters, folders and catalogues of its own exhibitions and co-organised events, and the preparation and issuing of "Rocznik Chopinowski" and "Chopin Studies". As a result, we co-operate on a permanent basis with the editorial committee of both periodicals, whose members at present include: Zofia Chechlinska, Wojciech Nowik, Elzbieta Szczepanska-Lange, Mieczyslaw Tomaszewski and Hanna Wroblewska-Straus. The secretary is Grazyna Michniewicz.

    The Museum initiates the publication by other publishing firms of works with a connection with Chopin. One of them is the book by Wanda Chotomska: Tam gdzie byl Chopin (Chopin was There), a guidebook for children, presenting localities connected with Chopin in Poland (the first publication of its kind in the world).

    Since 1969 the Museum has been headed by Hanna Wroblewska-Straus whose predecessors were Krystyna Kobylanska (up to 1966) and Teresa Dalila Turlo (up to 1969).

    Hanna Wroblewska-Straus