Chicago Chopin Foundation
Chopin Statue at Royal Baths Park
During Russian occupation of Poland in 1901, the famous Polish opera singer Adela Bolska performed in front of Russian Tsar Nicholas II. The Tsar was so astonished with her talent that he asked her what would she would like to receive as a reward, expecting Adela to ask for high praise and money. Instead, on behalf of the Polish people, she asked the Tsar, the highest authority of Imperial Russia and the imposed Polish King, for permission to erect the Chopin Monument in Warsaw, the place of Chopin’s youth where he lived the first half of his live and where his heart is placed to rest. The Tsar agreed. Adela together with her husband formed a committee for the building of the monument and allocated revenue from concerts for this purpose.
The statue was designed by Waclaw Szymanowski in 1907 and lobbying for the statue to be built on the centenary of Chopin’s birth in 1910. The non-traditional design and expressive form drew significant controversy and nationwide discussion. The outbreak of World War I prevented the statue to be cast and it was not erected until November 14th, 1926 in an already free and independent Poland. The bronze statue depicts a Chopin sitting under a windblown willow tree that was meant to echo the pianist’s hand and fingers.
Waclaw Szymanowski in his studio working on the Chopin Monument. He was sculptor of many fine sculptures but the Chopin Monument secured his place in history.
The historic unveiling of the Chopin Monument in 1926 attended by the Polish President, Polish Congress, all branches of military, the Polish Catholic Church, international dignitaries aristocracy along with Polish peasants.
When Germans invaded Poland during World War II, Chopin's monument was the first to be destroyed. The monument’s strong symbolism of the country’s attachment to Chopin and his music was the reason it was the first Polish monument blown up by the Germans on May 31st,1940 in an effort to eradicate Polish culture. The bronze from the statue was also used for the German war effort.
After the war reconstructing the Chopin monument was a national imperative as Poland and Warsaw rose from the ruins. The statue had to be completely recreated from historic pictures and a miniature of the Chopin sculpture accidentally found in the ruins after the Warsaw Uprising. They statue was re-erected at the original site in 1958. Since 1959 on summer Sunday afternoons there are free piano recitals of Chopin’s compositions at the statue. This has become a popular cultural event enjoyed by both tourists and locals as Chopin’s eternal music fills the air.
Nazi's destroying the Chopin Statue in 1940.
A concert at the Chopin Statue in Royal Baths Park Warsaw