The Chopins' Drawing Room
A Branch of the Chopin Museum
Frederick Chopin Society in Warsaw
The Chopins' Drawing Room in the Czapski (formerly Krasinski) Palace in 5, Krakowskie Przedmiescie St., reconstructed in 1960, is the only place of residence of Frederick Chopin in Warsaw which is open to the public. The two previous accommodations of the Polish artist in the capital - in the Saski and Kazimierzowski Palace - have not been reconstructed. The right wing of the Kazimierzowski Palace, which at present houses the Institute of Oriental Studies at Warsaw University, contains a commemorative plaque.
In 1827, after the death of Emilia, the youngest Chopin daughter (10th April ), the seventeen years-old Frederick Chopin moved, together with his parents and sisters, Ludwika and Izabella, to rooms in the Krasinski Palace. Here he resided from 2nd November 1830 up to the day when he left Poland forever, as it became obvious. Frederick had his own room, which he described in a letter to his close friend Tytus Woyciechowski in Poturzyn, on Saturday 27th December 1828: "Upstairs, there is a room which is supposed to serve my comfort, with stairs leading to it from the dressing room. Here I am to have my old piano and writing desk, and a nook where I can take refuge".
Conditions favourable for creativity proved to bear fruit. Both Concertos E minor op. 11 and the F minor op. 21 were written here in the years 1827-1830 and performed for the first time to the accompaniment of a quintet; the same holds true for several etudes which the composer mentioned to Woyciechowski in a letter of 14 November 1829: "I wrote a number of exercises - I would certainly play them well in your company". At the same time, Chopin composed also Variations B flat Major op. 2 on a theme of the duet La ci darem la mano from the opera Don Giovanni by W. A. Mozart, dedicated to the above mentioned Tytus Woyciechowski, the Sonata C minor op. 4 dedicated to his professor Jozef Elsner, the Nocturne E minor op. 72 no. 11, as well as waltzes, songs and mazurkas.
The Chopins' Drawing Room was frequented by the composer's school friends from the Warsaw Lycee and the Main School of Music, as well as the acquaintances and lodgers of his parents. One of the frequent guests was Wojciech Zywny, Chopin's first and only piano teacher.
It was planned to arrange the interior of the Chopins' Drawing Room, additionally outfitted in 1969, according to a reproduction of a unfortunately non-extant drowing by Antoni Kolberg from 1832, the only historical source. This was by no means an easy task since nothing survived from the authentic Chopin rooms. The Empire writing desk belonged to the family of Chopin's older sister, Ludwika Jedrzejowiczowa. The remaining furniture is of the period and was selected to resemble the original as faithfully as possible. Apart from bric a brac, the exhibition is composed of portraits of Frederick, his parents Justyna and Mikolaj Chopin, sisters Ludwika and Izabella (reconstructions by Jan Zamoyski executed in 1969 on the basis of reproductions of portraits by Ambrozy Mieroszewski, from 1829 and lost during the Second World War, likenesses of Wojciech Zywny (also a reconstruction according to A. Mieroszewski by Jadwiga Kunicka-Bogacka, 1969) and Jozef Elsner (a lithograph by Maksymilian Fajans according to his own drawing, from about 1850).Miniatures by Anna Chamiec, executed in 1968 and 1973, depict Karol Kurpinski, composer, pedagogue and conductor, during a concert given by Chopin in the National Theatre on 5 March 1830, Emilia Chopin and Izabella Barcinska born Chopin as well as her husband Antoni.
A series of engravings by Fryderyk Krzysztof Dietrich, from about 1827, shows views of Warsaw from the time of Chopin.The Chopins' Drawing Room contains two pianofortes and a piano. The oldest pianoforte originates from 1827-1830 and was produced by Fryderyk Buchholtz in Warsaw. An instrument made by the same firm stood in the Chopins' Drawing Room but was destroyed in 1863. A moving poem entitled Fortepian Chopina (The Chopin Pianoforte) by C. K. Norwid describes the event. The second pianoforte by the French firm Erard from 1856 belonged, according to the donator, Marquise D. Cadavall of Portugal, to Franz Liszt. Tradition claims that the piano built by the I. Pleyel firm in Paris in 1855 was used by Chopin's friend Julian Fontana, Ignacy Jan Paderewski and Karol Szymanowski.