Designer:Wacław Szymanowski, Łazienki Park in Warsaw, Poland (Photo: Gosia Głowacka, 26.04.2012)
The Chopin Statue is a large bronze statue of Frédéric Chopin that now stands in the upper part of Warsaw’s Royal Baths Park aka Łazienki Park, adjacent to Aleje Ujazdowskie (Ujazdów Avenue).
It was designed in 1907 by Wacław Szymanowski for its planned erection on the centenary of Chopin’s birth in 1810 but its execution was delayed by controversy about the design, then by the outbreak of World War I. The statue was finally cast and erected in 1926.
Statue destroyed by the Germans (1940)
During World War II, the statue was blown up on May 31, 1940. It was the first monument that was destroyed by the occupying Germans in Warsaw. According to local legend, the next day a handwritten sign was found at the site which read: “I don’t know who destroyed me, but I know why: so that I won’t play the funeral march for your leader.”
Professor Oskar Sosnowski designed the pedestal and basin, which are made of red Wąchock sandstone.
The original mould for the statue, which had survived the war, made it possible to cast a replica, which was placed at the original site in 1958. At the statue’s base, since 1959, on summer Sunday afternoons are performed free piano recitals of Chopin’s compositions.
The stylized willow over Chopin’s seated figure echoes a pianist’s hand and fingers.
A 1:1-scale replica of Szymanowski’s statue stands in Hamamatsu, Japan. There are also preliminary plans to erect another replica along Chicago’s lakefront, in addition to a different sculpture commemorating the artist in Chopin Park, for the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth (2010).
Szymanowski’s statue was the world’s tallest Chopin monument until the unveiling, on March 3, 2007, of the slightly taller, modernistic bronze in Shanghai, China.