George Sand (1804–1876)
Narcisse-Edmond-Joseph Desmadryl, after a portrait by Auguste Charpentier from 1838, mezzotint, 1839, 250 x 184.
Collection: Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina, Warsaw [M/2094].
Amantine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin, Baroness Dudevant, a French writer employing the pseudonym George Sand. The author of many novels, plays, critical writings and the autobiography Histoire de ma vie. Her letters were published in France, in 25 volumes, by Georges Lubin. The companion of Fryderyk Chopin for many years. They met on 5 November 1836 at the Hôtel Français in Paris, in the salon of Countess Marie d’Agoult and Ferenc Liszt.
‘[…] today one of the literary celebrities is Mrs George Sand, or Dudevant. Mr Grzymała secured me this acquaintance in his home. She is a petite, shapely, lovely person with big black eyes, who speaks little, but always well. A rare talent in her writing, acquainted with everyone, free living, alas! She does deign, however, to believe in God, the immortality of the soul and a better life to come. For young people, not at all appealing. Original in everything, even in her dress; she came in an Arab burnous, that is, in a hooded white camlet cloak, with matching galligaskins; on her head, straight-combed black hair. […] unceremonious and affectionate with everyone; in a word, a rather singular creature’, thus Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz wrote about her in his memoirs [19 July 1838] [Chopin na obczyźnie, p. 189]. George Sand’s close relationship with Chopin lasted nine years (1838–1847). During this time they spent ninety-eight days on Majorca. In the years 1839–1846 (with the exception of 1840), Chopin spent many months at Sand’s summer residence of Nohant, where he composed more than anywhere else. ‘Everything that was noble, delightful in him’, wrote George Sand, ‘even all his eccentricities, made him the soul of select society, and people literally snatched him from each others hands, as the loftiness of his character, disinterestedness, sense of personal dignity, his pride, far from any distasteful vanity and shameless self-publicity, distinguished and delicate manner made of him a friend as pleasant as he was trustworthy’ [Czartkowski and Jeżewska, pp. 45–46]. Chopin received from George Sand a note with the confession ‘On vous adore’, which he kept to the end of his life. They posed together for Eugène Delacroix, for a double portrait. George drew two portraits of Chopin and dedicated her novel La mare au diable to him. The extant correspondence confirms their mutual solicitude and devotion. ‘[…] Chopin gifted and, one might say, honoured me with such a friendship as constituted an exception in his life. He was always just the same towards me. He doubtless did not nurture many delusions regarding my person, as the respect that he had for me was unwavering. Thanks to this, harmony long reigned between us’ [Czartkowski and Jeżewska, p. 310]. They last met on 4 March 1848.