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Adam Jerzy Czartoryski

Adam Jerzy Czartoryski

 

Adam Jerzy Czartoryski (1770–1861)

Unknown artist, stippled copperplate, first half of 19th c., 170 x 122.

Collection: Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina, Warsaw [M/971].

 

Adam Jerzy Czartoryski—duke, Polish statesman, writer, patron of literature and science; co-founder of the Bibliothèque Polonaise in Paris. He settled in France in 1833, and his Paris residence, the Hôtel Lambert, became a centre for the activities of Polish émigrés. Duke Adam Czartoryski was concerned with the living conditions of Polish emigrants, organised Polish schooling and contributed to the founding of cultural societies and the publication in Paris of Polish periodicals and books. He was chair of the Polish Literary Society (from 1854 the Historical and Literary Society), founded in 1832 by emigrants following the November Rising, of which Fryderyk Chopin was also a member. On 16 January 1833, Chopin wrote: ‘The information of my election as an associate member, which the Literary Society has deigned honour me with, reached me on the 15th inst. I entreat you, Mr Chairman, to convey my gratitude to my fellow countrymen who have so strongly manifested their encouragement and indulgence. The honour of entering their ranks will spur me to new works consistent with the aims of the Society, to which I present my readiness to be of service with all my powers. With profound respect, your true servant FF. Chopin, born 1 March 1810 in the village of Żelazowa Wola in the Mazovia voivodeship’ [Zieliński, p. 286]. In accordance with this declaration, Chopin was not indifferent to the Society’s fortunes, visiting it and supporting it financially. He maintained an acquaintance with many political figures, with General Józef Dwernicki and General Józef Bem, and with the poets Niemcewicz, Zaleski, Witwicki and Mickiewicz. Chopin was also a guest many times at the Czartoryskis’ residence, the Hôtel Lambert, where representatives of the Polish, French and English aristocracy would meet, along with many eminent personages from the Diaspora. Thanks to his constant and close contacts with the Polish émigré community, Chopin did not feel alienated in Paris: he found there a piece of his homeland.