Fryderyk Chopin at the piano
Teofil Kwiatkowski, watercolour, pencil, c.1847, 178 x 128.
Collection: Biblioteka Narodowa, Warsaw [I Rys. 948, inv. no. R.133.242].
The license is accorded by the owner.
The Polish artist Teofil Kwiatkowski (1809–1891), a friend of Chopin’s who produced over forty likenesses of the composer, was under the spell of Chopin, his music and his person. Chopin przy fortepianie was sketched, possibly as a souvenir, when at dusk in his apartment the composer was playing, most often improvising, for his friends. Kwiatkowski, who often attended these gatherings, conveyed with great sensitivity and feeling Chopin’s physical frailty, contrasting with the powerful effect of his music: ‘[…] “only a small circle of selected individuals, for whom listening to his playing was a vital necessity, could induce him to sit at the piano”, recalled Hector Berlioz, who was friendly with Chopin from the beginning of his time in France. “What emotions he was able then to arouse! Into what fiery and melancholic dreams he could pour his soul!”’ [Czartkowski and Jeżewska, p. 344].