I TRUST THAT THERE WILL ALWAYS REMAIN SOMETHING TO BE DONE FOR HIM… (JANE W. STIRLING) MAREK KELLER’S DONATIONS TO THE FRYDERYK CHOPIN MUSEUM.

Letters from Fryderyk Chopin displayed at the exhibition come from the collection of Maria and Laura Ciechomski, granddaughters of Chopin’s sister. Thanks to the recent acquisitions, regarding Chopin’s autograph letters to his family, the collection was replenished almost to the state from the early 20th century. Thirteen out of fifteen items described in publications of that time have now enhanced the holdings of the Chopin Museum. Some of the manuscripts contain ownership marks and serial numbers used to put the family collection in order.

 

The recently acquired manuscripts are displayed in horizontal display cabinets located in the centre of the exhibition room at level-2. While the vertical display cabinets feature Chopin’s letters to his family from the 1840s, previously held in the Museum’s collection. Empty exhibition space – for letter from the collection destroyed during the Second World War – symbolizes painful loss, but also hope for gaining following memorabilia in the future. Manuscripts are shown against the background of Paris and Nohant images – places where Chopin lived and composed, and which he often vividly described in his letters.

 

Chopin’s correspondence is enriched with autographs of Sonata in G minor op. 65 for piano and cello. Created in stages between 1845 and 1847, this piece was “rehearsed” on numerous occasions at home, and then performed in public at a concert in Paris held on 16 February 1848. The process of composing Sonata in G minor, as well as its performance, both in private and public, are mentioned in the displayed letters.

 

The process of composing Sonata in G minor, as well as its performance, both in private and public, are mentioned in the displayed letters. They make a specific refrain to Chopin’s letters from the 1840s. Placing subsequent, separate sheets of Sonata’s draft manuscript among the letters evokes the “refrain-like” feeling in the exhibition space, as well as highlights the significance of music in Chopin’s daily life.

 

Also, the exhibited books directly correspond with the content of letters. The bibliophile and richly illustrated editions show broad cultural interests of Fryderyk Chopin and his sister. While the portraits of Fryderyk Chopin mentioned in the letters present the composer’s image as seen through the eyes of his female friend and renowned artists of his times.

 

Among documents displayed at the exhibition there are letters written by Jane Wilhelmina Stirling to Ludwika Jędrzejewiczowa, Fryderyk Chopin’s sister.

 

Jane W. Stirling was Fryderyk Chopin’s student. She provided the composer with financial and emotional support during his final years. After Chopin’s death, she became an ambassador for preserving his art and life in remembrance. Jane W. Stirling purchased the majority of objects from Chopin’s last apartment. Shortly after Ludwika Jędrzejewiczowa had left Paris, she focused on putting the composer’s items in order and donated them to his close friends and relatives. As a result, Chopin’s personal items, letters, as well as objects of everyday use were sent to Warsaw. Delivery of the most valuable memorabilia, such as Chopin’s last Pleyel brand piano, was organized by Stirling with the utmost thoughtfulness.

 

Jane W. Stirling also cared deeply about preserving the composer’s artistic legacy. On her request, Ludwika Jędrzejewiczowa prepared a list of Unpublished Compositions remaining in the manuscripts. Living in Paris, Stirling engaged herself in initiatives undertaken after the composer’s death by his friends. In her correspondence with Ludwika Jędrzejewiczowa, she discussed the progress of works over Fryderyk Chopin’s tombstone at the Père Lachaise cemetery.

 

Jane W. Stirling treated Fryderyk Chopin’s personal items almost as relics. She wanted to protect them against destruction and rescue from oblivion. Yet, Stirling respected the value they held for his family in Warsaw. She did not hesitate to present Chopin memorabilia, which she owned, to his relatives: a death mask, miniature medallion with the composer’s image, or portraits of Fryderyk Chopin painted on her commission. Realizing the importance of the composer’s legacy, Stirling established a museum devoted to Fryderyk Chopin in Scotland. In her last will, she bequeathed part of the gathered collection to his family.

 

The five-year long correspondence between Jane W. Stirling and Ludwika Jędrzejewiczowa provides rich and detailed documentation of the history of Chopin’s legacy. It shows the amount of effort put after the composer’s death into preserving his memorabilia for the future generations.

 

The Fryderyk Chopin Museum holds the world’s largest collection of Chopin memorabilia. Its beginnings go back to the inter-war period and activities of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute, whose mission was continued after the war by the Fryderyk Chopin Society. The Fryderyk Chopin Society owns the main body of the collection of the Chopin Museum.

 

No donor has contributed more to the expansion of the Fryderyk Chopin Museum’s collection than Marek Keller. In 2011 Marek Keller makes another priceless donation to the Museum consisting of more than 40 items, which join the national culture’s pantheon.

 

 

I trust that there will always remain something to be done for him… (Jane W. Stirling)

Marek Keller’s Donations to the Fryderyk Chopin Museum.

 

Curators

Magdalena Kulig, Grażyna Michniewicz

Project Manager

Maciej Janicki

Expert advice

Hanna Wróblewska-Straus

Substantive guidance

Alicja Knast

Translation

Katarzyna Różańska

Project

STAGE & DESIGN

Production

STUDIO EXPO

Projection

nERAvision

 

Sonata in G minor op. 65 by Fryderyk Chopin

Andrzej Bauer – cello, Jan Krzysztof Broja – Erard brand piano from 1849

 

Digitalisation of the exhibits from the Chopin Museum collection

Waldemar Kielichowski

Legal advice

Kancelaria Radcy Prawnego Grzegorz Gomuła

Kancelaria Radcy Prawnego Maciej Ślifirczyk

 

Collections:

The Fryderyk Chopin Society

The Fryderyk Chopin Museum at the Fryderyk Chopin National Institute

The Library of the Fryderyk Chopin National Institute

The Record Library of the Fryderyk Chopin National Institute

The Historical Museum of the City of Kraków

The Historical and Literary Society/ the Polish Library in Paris