Dutch-Polish historical relations comprise many close friendships. One such friendship existed between composer Fryderyk Chopin (1810-1849) and the Dutch-French painter Ary Scheffer (1795-1858). Scheffer was born in Dordrecht and came from a family of artists. In 1811, he moved with his mother to Paris, where he quickly gained popularity as a painter. He made portraits of numerous well-known people, such as Marquis de La Fayette and Franz Liszt. Chopin arrived in Paris in 1831 and would never return to Poland, becoming one of the famed expatriates of the Polish Great Emigration. Scheffer and Chopin met in Paris and became good friends. Chopin gave concerts at Scheffer’s home on the Rue Chaptal 16, and Scheffer made three portraits of his Polish friend. The painting shown here dates from 1847 and is one of the best-known depictions of Chopin. It hangs in the Dordrechts Museum, in the town where Scheffer was born. He became a naturalized Frenchman in 1850. A statue of Scheffer stands in the center of Dordrecht.
*I originally wrote this post for the social media outlets of the Dutch Embassy in Poland. This was post no. 9.