Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It?

Posted by: -Frycek

Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 08/30/06 03:34 PM

I recently posted this in the Mozart's widow thread where it promptly got lost. This is supposedly a daguerreotype of Chopin made circa 1846. I found it on a Polish site so I don't know much about its provenance. I did gather that it once belonged to Arthur Rubinstein. The existence of this image seems in conflict with the description of the well known "overcoat" 1849 daguerreotype of Chopin as the "only known photographic image" of him. Chopin could've had his photograph taken several times. I'm surprised he didn't as often as his portrait was painted. Daguerreotypes (dags) are one off's. They can't be printed. If one is destroyed, it's gone. The actual "overcoat" daguerrotype of Chopin was lost in WWII. Fortunately photographs of it remain. I found mention of the one below in a couple of biographies. As you can see it's very deteriorated. What do you think? Is is Chopin?


Posted by: pianojerome

Re: Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 08/30/06 04:29 PM

Look at the nose in the 1949 photograph:




The one in the photograph looks rather wide. The one in your dag looks rather narrow.
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 08/30/06 05:15 PM

The definitive representative of THE NOSE.

[img]http://www.chopinforever.org/deathmask.bmp[/img]

I finally made up my mind that the older dag really is of Chopin but it took a lot of study. It bears more of a resemblance to the portrait below which was, I think, painted in 1847, that to the later "overcoat" dag. Remember also that in 1849 when the "overcoat" dag was taken he was suffering from pulmonary related heart failure (cor pulmonale) which resulted in a lot of edema. He mentions his swollen face and legs in his letters. Cortot once owned the portrait below. According to Cortot's account, one of Chopin's pupils was engaged to a portrait painter. She wanted him to do a portrait of Chopin. Chopin agreed to sit but only if the painter would come to his flat since he was no longer able to climb the stairs to the portraitist's studio.

Posted by: eromlignod

Re: Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 08/30/06 05:29 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Frycek:
I recently posted this in the Mozart's widow thread where it promptly got lost. This is supposedly a daguerreotype of Chopin made circa 1846. I found it on a Polish site so I don't know much about its provenance. I did gather that it once belonged to Arthur Rubinstein. The existence of this image seems in conflict with the description of the well known "overcoat" 1949 daguerreotype of Chopin as the "only known photographic image" of him. Chopin could've had his photograph taken several times. I'm surprised he didn't as often as his portrait was painted. Daguerreotypes (dags) are one off's. They can't be printed. If one is destroyed, it's gone. The actual "overcoat" daguerrotype of Chopin was lost in WWII. Fortunately photographs of it remain. I found mention of the one below in a couple of biographies. As you can see it's very deteriorated. What do you think? Is is Chopin?


[/b]
WOW! This is absoulutely fascinating. I too had always heard that there was only the one photograph of him.

It sure does look like him and if the date is true, it makes sense. He would have been about that age at that time. Photographs were extremely new at that time. 1846 would have been early indeed, but only a few years before the other one. If they were making daguerreotypes in Paris at that time, it is quite possible that he could have had one made since many portraits had been made of him.

The key, it seems to me, is whether photo shops were common in 1846 France. If they were, then there is a high likelyhood that another photo would exist, since he had three years to have one made before he died.

He appears in better health. If real, this is perhaps the most accurate likeness of him ever. Fabulous (and spooky)!

Don
Kansas City
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 08/30/06 05:32 PM

Daguerreotypes were invented in Paris. See below.
"Boulevard du Temple" by Daguerre, 1838

Posted by: eromlignod

Re: Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 08/30/06 05:53 PM

I think it's real.

1. It matches the death mask almost identically.

2. He would have been 36 years old, which looks spot on.

3. The fellow in the photo is of slight stature, (I'm guessing that jacket is about a 36R, and extremely well-tailored), which is also correct.

4. The hairdo is right.

5. It was common for pianists to pose for portraits with at least one hand showing (it looks like he has his RH on his breast, or on his left arm, though it's blurry).

6. The fact that it is a daguerreotype means that it cannot be later than the early 1850's, nor earlier than the early 1840's.

7. The fact that Rubinstein posessed it at all suggests a favorable provenance.

8. This is exactly how Chopin was known to have dressed, as depicted in many portraits.

I had never seen or heard of this. Absolutely amazing.

Don
Kansas City
Posted by: eromlignod

Re: Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 08/30/06 07:15 PM

Compare:



Don
Kansas City
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 08/30/06 08:17 PM

Incredible.
Posted by: eromlignod

Re: Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 08/31/06 12:56 AM

Ironically, this one is so good, now I'm starting to seriously doubt the "overcoat" photo!

Don
Kansas City
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 08/31/06 04:48 AM

Re: the "overcoat" dag, he looks pretty much as a man in his condition would be expected to look. He is doing his best not to appear to be leaning against the desk. Undoubtedly he has some support at his back. By then, he is in the terminal stage of cor pulmonale, tubercular and severely asthmatic. His lips are parted so he can breath, his face shows a certain amount of edema particularly around his eyes and the sides of his nose. If color photography had existed then, he would've been very pale, almost bluish, and his lips would've had a decidedly blue cast. AT this point in his life he was unable to cross a room without stopping to rest. He legs were edematous and he was unable to keep warm. He was 5'7" and weighed in the vicinity of ninty pounds at this point, which is probably one more reason he chose to be photographed in his overcoat.
Posted by: canaday

Re: Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 09/01/06 02:58 AM

The 1846 photo does look like him:

1. The shape of the hairline and forehead are very similar in the 1846 and 1849 photos.
2. The distances along the vertical axis are consistent: hairline to eyebrows; eyebrows to nose; nose to chin.
3. The 1846 nose is very similar to the mask: same arch in the nostril, and the highlight along the top of the nose looks like it also pulls to one side consistent with the mask.
4. The fullness in the lower lip pulls to one side as well.
6. The curve of the right cheekbone in the 1846 and 1849 photos appears identical.
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 01/06/09 02:08 AM

I know reviving threads from years ago is generally frowned upon here, but I have actually been meaning to pursue this particular one and research it more ever since it's original appearance (but never got around to it) simply because it's so fascinating, so I searched the archives only to find that, somehow, the photo does not show! Frycek, what happened!
Posted by: charleslang

Re: Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 01/06/09 02:30 AM

There's probably higher resolution somewhere but this is a screen shot from a youtube video:

From herrmann
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 01/06/09 03:48 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Opus_Maximus:
I know reviving threads from years ago is generally frowned upon here, but I have actually been meaning to pursue this particular one and research it more ever since it's original appearance (but never got around to it) simply because it's so fascinating, so I searched the archives only to find that, somehow, the photo does not show! Frycek, what happened! [/b]
What happened?? I changed my domain name. I've just updated the html. Since this thread was posted I've found out a bit more about this. I don't think it was ever owned by Rubinstein. I made that assumption when I first ran across the dag in question on a Polish site devoted to Rubinstein and showing some of his memorabilia. (I don't read Polish.) I've since learned that the 1846 dag is authentic, it is Chopin, though it's existence was apparently little known outside Poland. The original was in the same Warsaw museum as the "overcoat" portrait and was also destroyed at the same time.

BTW the utube dag above is reversed. He looks much better the right way round.
Posted by: Arabesque

Re: Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 01/06/09 05:49 AM

That coat was obviously reinforced and there must have been a sophisticated armature to support Chopin and his head. His shoulders seem mannekin-like. The head is all there anyway. The cravat looks suffocating. It might have taken about 30 minutes to one hour during which he had to remain like a statue. Those little pin pricks of light in the eyes are not totally natural. There could be others in the same session. Does Chopin mention his photo sessions in any journals? How was the condition of his health at that time? He would have been half dead more than likely.
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 01/06/09 07:25 AM

No, he doesn't mention any sort of photographic lessions in his letters, as for his pocket diaries, who knows? They're all losked away somewhere in Warsaw I think. He'd have been half dead for the first one and three quarters dead for the second.
Posted by: Nigel Keay

Re: Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 01/06/09 08:13 AM

Delacroix\'s painting of Chopin was done at 17-19 rue Visconti during the period that the artist worked and lived in the workshop (1835-1844). If one looks at a what activities were present in rue Visconti at that time, it's evident that there were a large number of artists, printers, engravers etc. Given that Daguerre, the inventor of the daguerrotype, was an artist, I think it's possible that someone in that street may have produced Daguerreotypes. As a new invention it may have taken a while for anyone to become known or advertised as a "daguerrotypiste" if in fact they ever did.
Posted by: shaulhadar

Re: Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 02/08/09 11:48 PM

i really wish that we could see this new dag in high resolution......chopin seems so delicate, and yet his music is so amazing....it whould be amazing to get a glimpse of what he looked liked, except for the famous picture...
Posted by: Mocheol

Re: Little Known Daguerreotype of Chopin, or Is It? - 02/09/09 12:04 AM

Im better looking than Chopin.