The Artur Rubinstein monument is a part of the Gallery of Great Lodz citizens, which since 1999 has been adorning Piotrkowska Street with bronze outdoor sculptures standing on sidewalks, commemorating famous people associated with Lodz.
The monument was unveiled on 23 September 2000 on the occasion of the World Meeting of Lodz citizens. The author of the project is Marcel Szytenchelm. The monument was placed in front of the tenement house at 78 Piotrkowska Street, where once lived a famous pianist.
The bronze cast figure shows Arthur Rubinstein in a tailcoat, sitting at the piano, whose hands are supported by the keyboard. The raised flap of the instrument resembles a bird’s wing. Next to it, there is a cello key.
Artur Rubinstein’s family protested against the placement of the monument. On behalf of his family, the artist’s daughter Eva Rubinstein sent letters of protest to the City Hall of Lodz and the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland, claiming that the form of the monument and its low artistic value offends the artist’s memory. Eva Rubinstein, due to the presence of the monument, refused to come to Lodz for 6 years to celebrate her father. Among the artists and music circles in Lodz, the sculpture also caused numerous controversies. There are plans to remove the existing monument and place in its place a more artistically valuable work dedicated to the same artist.
Originally, after inserting a coin into the mechanism hidden inside the monument, the device randomly played Chopin’s Concerto in F minor, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto in B flat minor, Chopin’s Waltz in C sharp minor or Chopin’s Polonaise in A flat major. However, after interventions by Sony BMG, which demanded royalties for the played pieces, the piano went silent.
20.12.2020 marks the 28th anniversary of the death of an outstanding Polish pianist of Jewish origin.
Arthur Rubinstein lost almost his entire family to the Germans in World War II. As a sign of protest against German crimes, he never performed any concerts in Germany or the GDR. In 1945, during the ceremony of signing the United Nations Charter, in the absence of the Polish flag, he expressed his indignation and ostentatiously played Mazurka Dąbrowski. He preceded the performance with words:
“In this room, where great nations gathered to make this world a better place, I do not see the flag of Poland behind which this cruel war was waged.“
and he added:
“So now I will play the Polish national anthem.“
Art, music and patriotism have no nationality, ethnic origin, skin color, sexual orientation or religion. You can love and consider the country you live in as your homeland, take care of the good of the community and come from a completely different country. You can create beautiful music or art, which in the country of origin is not found in the audience, but outside its borders is sought after. All of us, regardless of where we come from, are one genre. Supporting each other we will achieve much more. Let’s not forget about it especially in these difficult times. All the most beautiful things for the upcoming holidays and stay healthy in the New Year.