CHOPIN’S POLAND CHOPIN’S POLAND

Warsaw: Czapski / Krasiński Palace Warsaw: Czapski / Krasiński Palace

In 1827, following the death of Emilka, Fryderyk's youngest sister, the Chopins moved to a larger apartment, rented in the left wing of Krasiński Palace on Krakowskie Przedmieście (plot no. 410). Here Fryderyk was given his own room to work in. In a letter to Tytus Woyciechowski of 27 December 1828 he wrote: 'Upstairs there is already a room that is to serve my comfort [...] There I am to have an old piano and an old bureau; it is to be my own place of refuge' [1] 

In his room 'in the garret' upstairs, Fryderyk was often visited by his friends on their way to the university. The Chopins' apartment was a very special place, visited by numerous artists, scholars and young men, including Samuel Bogumił Linde, Kajetan Koźmian, Juliusz Kolberg, Antoni Grodowski, Józef Elsner, Stefan Witwicki and Bohdan Zaleski. Rehearsals with orchestra musicians were also held there. At the beginning of 1830, at special musical soirees organised at the Chopins' home, a group of the composer's friends, musicians and columnists listened to the premiere performances of both piano concertos.

Czapski/Krasiński Palace (earlier known as Sieniawski/Raczyński Palace) is located at 5 Krakowskie Przedmieście, opposite the gate to Warsaw University. The building has been rebuilt many times and has belonged successively to the Radziwiłł, Radziejowski, Prażmowski, Sieniawski, Czartoryski and, finally, Czapski families. Thanks to rebuilding work initiated by Stanisław Malachowski and his wife Konstancja, née Czapska, in the mid eighteenth century the palace gained a late baroque character. Added around the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were two classicist annexes, designed by J. C. Kamzetzer. In the first half of the nineteenth century the building was acquired by Wincenty Krasiński (it was inherited from the Czapskis by Krasiński's wife, Maria Urszula Radziwiłł, Countess of Nieśwież). As already mentioned, an apartment in the left wing of the palace was rented from 1827 by the Chopins. This building also housed the school attended by the poet Cyprian Kamil Norwid. In the middle of the century the library collection of the Krasiński entail estate was installed in the corner annexes. Further rebuilding brought wholesale changes to the palace's exterior, as well as its decorations and furnishings.

During the period from 1909 to the outbreak of World War Two the building belonged to Edward Raczyński, President of the Republic of Poland in Exile during the years 1979-1986. In its post-war reconstruction, it regained its appearance from the eighteenth century. Since the 1950s the palace has been the seat of the Academy of Fine Arts.

In 1930 a commemorative plaque was set into the front wall of the left wing of Czapski/Krasiński Palace, on the ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście side. Its inscription reads as follows: 'In this house Fryderyk Chopin lived and worked before leaving Warsaw for good in 1830'.

In the left wing, a small museum was created in the place where the Chopins apartment once stood; known as the Chopin Family Drawing Room, it was opened to the public in 1960. The interior and decor of a drawing-room from the first half of the nineteenth century were reconstructed from sketches made by Antoni Kolberg in 1832.

The salon does not contain any items once belonging to the Chopin family. Besides the nineteenth-century furniture, there are Buchholtz and Erard grand pianos from the first half of the nineteenth century, a Pleyel upright from the same period, and also portraits of Chopin's sisters, his mother, Wojciech Żywny and Józef Elsner, as well as views of nineteenth-century Warsaw.


[1] Korespondencja Fryderyka Chopina [The correspondence of Fryderyk Chopin], ed. B. E. Sydow, 1 vol. (Warsaw, 1955), 86.

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