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New Picture of Chopin? Mysterious 1847 Daguerreotype Discovered


Filip Lech
Portrait of Fryderyk Chopin discovered by Alain Kohler, photo: courtesy of the Polish Institute in Paris
Portrait of Fryderyk Chopin discovered by Alain Kohler, photo: courtesy of the Polish Institute in Paris

Alain Kohler, a Swiss physicist and Chopin specialist, found a new photograph that most likely depicts Fryderyk Chopin. The Polish Institute in Paris has just informed the public about the discovery.

In 2016, Alain Kohler discovered a German collector was in possession of the Pleyel piano (number 11265) that Chopin had in his apartment at Square d’Orléans between December 1844 and June 1845. Now, together with Gilles Bencimon of Radio France Internationale, he has discovered a photo reproduction of a daguerreotype depicting (most likely) Fryderyk Chopin.

The daguerreotype was made in 1847 in the atelier of Louis-August Bisson. Up until now, only two daguerreotypes of Chopin were known about, made between 1840 and 1845, both of them lost during World War II. Most likely, these were also created by Bisson – the owner of one of the first photo studios in Paris and the creator of portraits of numerous important figures from 19th-century Paris. The photo reproductions of daguerreotypes survived, but their quality is rather low, which is why Kohler’s discovery is vital to increasing our level of knowledge about Chopin.

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Originally written in Polish, January 2017, translated by NS, January 2017.
Category: 
Music
Photography