Paris, Louvre, view of the palace courtyard with staffage and equestrian statue of the Duc d’Orléans, two-tone lithograph by Jean Baptiste Arnout after his own drawing, signed, 19th c. Collection: Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina, Warsaw [M/2918].
Chopin was not an art fanatic or connoisseur, but he was certainly a lover of the fine arts, and a key point in every city he visited on his travels (just after the Opera) was an art gallery, be it in Berlin, Dresden, Vienna or Paris. These were usually collections dominated by works from previous eras. George Sand was of the opinion that ‘Chopin took little interest in art, although he was obliged to visit the Salon at the Louvre once a year when his friends were exhibiting their works: E. Delacroix, H. Lehman and A. Scheffer’. Many references testify his sound knowledge of the Louvre’s collections: ‘I’ve sent through Glucksberg two volumes: the Old and New Testament with English engravings for Ludwika and Izabela. These engravings are considered here to be extremely beautiful; they are pictures by the most illustrious masters of the old and new schools: Raphael, Rubens, Poussin. Many of the pictures are here in the Louvre, perhaps Ludwika will recall’, he wrote to his family in 1845. In Chopin’s times, the Louvre was open ‘every day (except Monday) from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Those with foreign passports were admitted free of charge. […] Except for the annual Salon, the Louvre exhibited no contemporary art’ [Atwood, The Parisian Worlds…].