Jan Matuszyński (1808 or 1809–1842)
Unknown artist, watercolour, reproduction: Leopold Binental, Chopin (Paris, 1934).
Collection: Photographic collection of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute, Warsaw [F.2833].
Jan Edward Aleksander Matuszyński, physician and surgeon, a schoolfriend of Fryderyk Chopin from the Warsaw Lyceum. He graduated from the Department of Medicine of the Royal University of Warsaw. After the defeat of the November Rising, he emigrated to Tübingen, where he studied on the Department of Medicine and earned his PhD. In 1834, he went to study medicine in Paris and lived with Chopin on rue de la Chaussée d’Antin. In a letter to Warsaw, he wrote of Fryderyk thus: ‘He has put on weight and grown up, such that I barely recognised him. Today, Chopin is the foremost artist on the piano; he gives plenty of lessons, and all for 20 francs. His compositions are now most readily purchased, and he has written quite a few’ [Czartkowski and Jeżewska, p. 204]. In 1837, Matuszyński received a diploma in medicine from the Paris Academy. He taught at the École de Médicine and treated Chopin, who called him his court physician. In 1836, he wed Charlotte Clotilde Boquet. Chopin was a witness at their wedding, which was held at the Polish church of St Roch in Paris. Matuszyński died of tuberculosis on 20 April in his Paris apartment on rue de Verneuil, in the presence of Fryderyk and George Sand, who accompanied him in his final moments. Chopin was greatly affected by the death of his close and devoted friend. On 29 April, George wrote to Pauline Viardot: ‘[…] a Polish friend of Chopin’s, a doctor, his old schoolfriend, died in our arms after a long and cruel agony, which poor Chopin felt almost like his own. He was remarkably strong, brave and devoted for such a fragile creature. But afterwards he broke down’ [Zieliński, pp. 506–507].