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#1639384 - 03/12/11 06:47 AM Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin??
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Just moved this from the Totally Devoted thread on AFB where it was pretty much being ignored.

Originally Posted By: J.A.S
Article (in Polish) with the photo:
Unknown photo of Chopin on deathbed found

Photo only: Photo only

My translation of fragments of the article:

Unknown photo of Chopin on deathbed found
Władysław Żuchowski, a photographer, purchased from a private Scottish collector a dagerotype showing dying Fryderyk Chopin. Experts examine authenticity of the negative, but most of them already have doubts.
[...]
The author of the photo is Louis Auguste Bisson, a French photographer known from another, earlier picture of the pianist. The first name and surname of the famous Pole is written on an attached piece of paper.
[...]
According to Alicja Knast, curator of the Chopin Museum in Warsaw, there is no evidence that the dagerotype pictures Chopin and there is a whole market of similar false documents.

Małgorzata Grabczewska, a photography expert, Polish Library in Paris, doubts the authenticity of the dagerotype. According to her, Bisson never dated his negatives or signed them with his name. “The dagerotype is beyond doubt from the 19th century, but is it actually the deathbed photographed by Bisson?” she asked rhetorically.



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#1639387 - 03/12/11 06:51 AM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains


Here it is without all that pesky advertising. Thanks for posting this JAS. I'm surprized all the Chopinoholics haven't been all over it today. It looks quite a bit like him. I'm sure there's a reason for that. One way to fake it would be to coif a copy of the "peaceful" death mask with an appropriate wig and do some creative posing and lighting. If it's a fake it would have to have been done in a similar way as a daguerreotype has no negative to interfere with. But who knows? According to one source some photographers did show up and were shown the door by Adolph Gutmann when they started to move Chopin's body to get it into a better light.
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#1639390 - 03/12/11 06:54 AM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
stores Offline
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Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6648
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
At very first glance, it doesn't look to me like the Chopin (we know) of late 1849, but a much younger Chopin. Something about the image doesn't convince me, but I can't put my finger on it just yet.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1639391 - 03/12/11 06:59 AM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
-Frycek Offline
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Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
It looks a lot like some of the very idealized liknesses of him around. It might be a total fake (even a photograph of a drawn image like the Cottingley fairy photographs) or it might be an actual dead guy who happened to look a lot like him, but as Stores said, younger, opportunistically misidentifed.
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#1639407 - 03/12/11 07:44 AM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
Andromaque Offline
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Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3886
Loc: New York
I would agree that it does not look like like the known photograph of Chopin, but that could be misleading. Postmortem appearance is often different. The face looks youngish, but could be 39, I imagine, though Chopin was an older looking 39.. Probably not real. Fascinating nonetheless..

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#1639419 - 03/12/11 08:33 AM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Chopin did look young for his age all his adult life. Even when he was very ill, in England before his last concert, someone described him as a "frail looking young man of thirty."
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#1639424 - 03/12/11 08:48 AM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3886
Loc: New York
I guess I am influenced by that famous photograph, where he also looks almost uncomfortable. Was it taken towards the end of his life? But obviously live accounts are more reliable.

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#1639430 - 03/12/11 08:59 AM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4983
Loc: boston north
He looks 'healthy' here.

Dates? Well, if you were going to take a photo of a famous composer, you might date that one photograph if no others.

Oh, and we DO look different standing up from laying down. Try it sometime!
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1639432 - 03/12/11 09:04 AM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
tomasino Offline
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Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Are there any photographs of Chopin from the side that are considered to be authentic? I don't ever recall seeing any. And if not, it seems quite a leap to say this looks like him. Even if we were viewing straight-on frontal views, the differences in lighting, contrast, and decay of very old images, makes a meaningful comparison a very dicey proposition.

Also, the aesthetic quality of the photograph fits a little too well into the mystique of Chopin and his music. As Frycek suggested above, it seems idealized--the side view, the very handsome nature of the side profile, the top lighting of the face, and the nicely done shadow molding along the cheek. It seems to me that a photographer would have had to have been given quite a bit of leeway to arrange such a shot.

All that's left to suggest that this may be Chopin is the photographer's signature and the ascribed identity of the corpse--assuming it is a corpse--a corpse that may possibly have gotten up and walked away.


Tomasino
_________________________
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10


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#1639585 - 03/12/11 01:33 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: stores]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20218
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: stores
At very first glance, it doesn't look to me like the Chopin (we know) of late 1849, but a much younger Chopin....

yes

Originally Posted By: -Frycek
It looks a lot like some of the very idealized liknesses of him around.....

yes

Originally Posted By: lilylady
He looks 'healthy' here....

yes smile
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#1639599 - 03/12/11 01:49 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
This image is said to depict Frederic Chopin on his deathbed. I don't see any photographers there.

Tomasino

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"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10


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#1639624 - 03/12/11 02:28 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
-Frycek Offline
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Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
grin
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#1639627 - 03/12/11 02:32 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: tomasino]
Andromaque Offline
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Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3886
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: tomasino
This image is said to depict Frederic Chopin on his deathbed. I don't see any photographers there.

Tomasino





The photographer was obviously taking that picture!!

Who is atthe piano?

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#1639634 - 03/12/11 02:40 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
That's supposed to be Delphina Potocka, a Polish countess, an old friend, and very possibly an old flame, who actually did come to see him and sang for him at his request, though I doubt very seriously that she was wearing Grecian robes at the time. She had to stop midway as Chopin was too overcome with sadness for her to continue. That engraving dates from something like the 1880's. (And there definitely wasn't a nun.)

These sketchs are the most authentic perimortem depictions of Chopin other than the death mask. It was drawn by Chopin's friend artist Teofil Kwiatkowski who was there and later painted several variations of the actual death bed for various friends of Chopin.





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#1639651 - 03/12/11 02:57 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4983
Loc: boston north
He would have apparently changed hair styles while in recline

(flipped)

_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1639697 - 03/12/11 04:16 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
Palindrome Offline
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Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3916
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Originally Posted By: -Frycek
One way to fake it would be to coif a copy of the "peaceful" death mask


There's a death mask?

Originally Posted By: lilylady
...we DO look different standing up from laying down....


GRAMMAR POLICE!!! LYING down.
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There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#1639705 - 03/12/11 04:24 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: Palindrome]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6648
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: Palindrome

There's a death mask?



Yes. There are two, in fact. One most people have seen and one most haven't. (I'd be willing to bet that Frycek has photos of them).
It's truly an interesting daguerreotype, but I don't at all believe it's Chopin.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1639710 - 03/12/11 04:30 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: stores]
Palindrome Offline
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Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3916
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
I should have searched before asking:

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There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#1639716 - 03/12/11 04:35 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6342
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
The nose looks straighter (maybe this is what some members mean with "idealized"), but as for his age, I think he could be 39... Unfortunately though, Chopin was very sick when he died and in reality he looked older...
I don't think it is him, but I cannot exclude it 100%.
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#1639719 - 03/12/11 04:39 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: stores]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: Palindrome

There's a death mask?



Yes. There are two, in fact. One most people have seen and one most haven't. (I'd be willing to bet that Frycek has photos of them).
It's truly an interesting daguerreotype, but I don't at all believe it's Chopin.


Actually, there were three death masks made but only the one depicted above is fit for family viewing. (He looks way too dead in the other two.) (Anyone interested, PM me if you like.
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#1639740 - 03/12/11 05:02 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6648
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: -Frycek
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: Palindrome

There's a death mask?



Yes. There are two, in fact. One most people have seen and one most haven't. (I'd be willing to bet that Frycek has photos of them).
It's truly an interesting daguerreotype, but I don't at all believe it's Chopin.


Actually, there were three death masks made but only the one depicted above is fit for family viewing. (He looks way too dead in the other two.) PM me if you like.


Aha!!! I wasn't aware that there were three! I knew of two (and have seen the PG version as well as one of the "too dead"), but not a third. PM on it's way.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1639756 - 03/12/11 05:27 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4983
Loc: boston north
Now I lay me down to sleep -

I always get those confused, P!

And worse.
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1639772 - 03/12/11 06:06 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: lilylady]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Originally Posted By: lilylady
Now I lay me down to sleep -

I always get those confused, P!

And worse.


And then there are chickens - - -
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Slow down and do it right.

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#1639781 - 03/12/11 06:23 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 832
i was checking to make sure it isn't april 1st...

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#1639813 - 03/12/11 07:40 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: stores]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4610
Loc: not somewhere over the rainbow
Originally Posted By: stores
Aha!!! I wasn't aware that there were three! I knew of two (and have seen the PG version as well as one of the "too dead"), but not a third. PM on it's way.


"Its"!

This looks like a painting to me, not a photograph..
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#1639819 - 03/12/11 07:45 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Could be a photograph of a painting
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Slow down and do it right.

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#1639831 - 03/12/11 08:03 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: Pogorelich.]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6648
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Originally Posted By: stores
Aha!!! I wasn't aware that there were three! I knew of two (and have seen the PG version as well as one of the "too dead"), but not a third. PM on it's way.


"Its"!

This looks like a painting to me, not a photograph..


blush
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1639860 - 03/12/11 08:59 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3886
Loc: New York
Oh Frycek,
you MUST post the pictures. or you are going to have to PM half the membership, myself included!

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#1639866 - 03/12/11 09:11 PM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
It's not Chopin by a nose.

The slightly raised nose bridge of the guy in the photograph can't even hold a candle to Chopin's Roman Nose, as shown in the desk mask. That clinches it for me. If we need go further, the death mask also shows Chopin as having somewhat heavier lips, particularly the lower lip, and not quite as much chin as the guy in the photograph. The Kwiatowski drawings--and I take it on Frycek's good authority that Kwiatowski was actually there--also show a pronounced Roman Nose.

Painting or photograph? It looks like a photograph to me, but I'm not at all convinced it's a Daguerreotype. I've examined a good many, and, in general, they're remarkably stable, and don't often show extreme fading or color shifting, such as the extreme shift to blue in several large areas of highlight in the image.

The photo has an unusual shape, and it is quite unusual for a Daguerreotype, or any photograph up until the last few decades, to be cropped in this manner. It might be very telling to see what was cropped out of the image, perhaps by the photographer or the publication's editor. It would also be interesting to know more about what was in the Polish language article accompanying the photograph.

Tomasino
_________________________
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10


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#1639985 - 03/13/11 03:22 AM Re: Postmortem Daguerreotype of Chopin?? [Re: -Frycek]
Batuhan Offline
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Registered: 09/21/09
Posts: 975
Loc: Istanbul
Not look like Chopin his face compeletly different from the photo of 1849 but this is very fascinating
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