Wersja polska | Polish version

The Frederick Chopin Museum
at the
Frederick Chopin Society in Warsaw

    The Frederick Chopin Museum at the Frederick Chopin Society in Warsaw was established in the 1930s. Already in 1935, the Frederick Chopin Institute, established a year earlier by 32 outstanding representatives of the world of culture and politics, headed by Karol Szymanowski, Emil Mlynarski, Stanislaw Niewiadomski, Jozef Beck and August Zaleski, had begun amassing a collection. At that time, thirteen extremely valuable manuscripts were purchased from Ludwika Ciechomska, granddaughter of Ludwika Jedrzejewiczowa, Chopin`s sister, and Boguslaw Kraszewski from Stary Kuplin. The manuscripts included: a complete autograph of the G minor Trio op. 8 for piano, violin and cello by Chopin, seven letters written at Szafarnia by the young composer to his family in 1824 (including four examples of the famous "Szafarnia Courier") and at Kowalewo [6 July 1827] as well as to his school friend Julian Fontana in Paris [1835], three special greetings addressed by Chopin to his father (6 December 1816 and 1818) and mother (16 June 1817) upon their name days as well as two dedications of 6 and 9 June 1833 for Jozef Nowakowski, a friend from the Warsaw Conservatory. These autographs of the Polish artist were the start of the collection for the future Chopin Museum which after the Second World War became much more active. The creation of a Collection of Photographs, Recordings and a Library was started prior to 1939. It must be stressed that thanks to the self-sacrifice and industriousness of Mieczyslaw Idzikowski, a founding member of the Frederick Chopin Institute, the autoographs were not damaged during the War Two.

    Chopin's greetings to this father on his name-day, 6 December1816

    Two dedications to J. Nowakowski by Chopin

    In 1945, the Frederick Chopin Institute opened again in Warsaw, and was housed at first in 15 Zgoda St. and from 1953 in Ostrogski Castle, 1 Okolnik St. This was also the home of the Museum, Library and Collections of Photographs and Recordings.

    The basic work of the Chopin Museum is the gathering of collections, research, the publication of collection catalogues and research studies, exhibitions (permanent and temporary displays held on the spot and elsewhere) and publishing. After the War Two, the main effort was connected with the gathering of collections and the organisation of new exhibitions.

    The museum (containing manuscripts, printed matter, some with handwritten annotations, iconography, portraits, panoramas of localities and posters) and the library collections (books, periodicals and music scores), recordings (discs, tapes and CDs) as well as photographs (negatives, positives and microfilm) are the outcome of purchases made at home and abroad as well as donations and loans.

    Cameo of Chopin in agate by L. Isler

    Photograf of Aurora Lauth-Sand, granddaughter of George Sand

    Chopin's letter to J. Fontana, Nohant, 7 October 1841

    The most valuable museum collections such as Chopin's autographs, his letters, portraits and mementos were, and still are, bought primarily abroad from antique dealers in Paris (A. Brieux, P. Beres, R. Davis, M. Loliée, R. Legoux and F. Studzinski), in Tutzing near Munich (H. Schneider), Geneva (N. Rauch), Brno (Stuker), and Basel (Erasmushaus Haus der Bücher AG) as well as at auctions held in Germany (Marburg and Berlin) by Klaus Mecklenburg - owner of J. A. Stargard, in France (in Paris: Hôtel Drouot, and Issoudun: Hôtel des Ventes) and Great Britain (London: Sotheby's), from private persons such as Arthur Hedley, collector and Chopin expert in London, Aurora Lauth-Sand, granddaughter of George Sand in Paris, or Mario Uzielli in Liestal, Switzerland. An exception are items purchased after the Second World War from Wladyslaw Bichniewicz, grandson of Ludwika Jedrzejowiczowa, Chopin's oldest sister (e.g. a gold watch which the young pianist and composer received from A. Catalani in 1829 and a portrait of Chopin - an agate cameo by Luigi Isler from about 1842), Eva and Adam Kotul from Krakow (a letter by Chopin to Julian Fontana, Nohant, 7 October 1841), Mieczyslaw Idzikowski (letter by Chopin to Julian Fontana, Nohant, 8 September 1841) and Paulina Chrominska from Warsaw (a book with Chopin's signature by J.- F. Bouilly Les encouragemens de la jeunesse, vol. II, Bruxelles 1821, a gift from Fryderyk Skarbek, the composer's godfather, 5 March 1823) and from Jerzy Kniolek from Kobylka near Warsaw who, thanks to the contacts of his aunt, Jozefa Krawczyk with Leon Ciechomski from Krakow, became the owner of extensive Chopiniana totalling 160 items.


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