A Museum Paying Homage to Chopin

Learn the story about how the museum was created 90 years ago.

Museum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

Entrance to the cell through the CorridorMuseum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

The cell occupied by Chopin and George Sand in the Valldemossa Charterhouse was number four. In 1932, it opened to the public as the Chopin Museum or Chopin Cell.

Tribute to Chopin on the 50th anniversary of the Cell's opening (1982)Museum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

Gabriel Quetglas-Amengual (Palma 1892-1971) and his wife Mercedes Tous-Fiol (Palma 1892-1968) are responsible for opening the museum. At the time, they owned Chopin's Pleyel piano, having inherited it from the Canut family.

Detail of the display case with documents of Edouard Ganche (1913-1935)Museum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

Edouard Ganche (Baulon 1880-Lyon 1945), a researcher into the life and works of Chopin, was the first person to locate the documents to find out which cell Chopin occupied. His research was the result of his first visit to Mallorca in 1928.

Edouard Ganche in the Hermitage of Valldemossa (1931) by Gabriel Quetglas AmengualMuseum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

In 1931, Edouard Ganche gave a speech during the first Chopin festival at the Charterhouse, which was arranged at his request. In 1932, he published an article in La Pologne magazine, entitled Chopin's Authentic Cell, and published Maurice Sand's drawing of the cell.

Photograph of the beginnings of the cell as a museumMuseum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

It had been known since the 19th century that Chopin's Pleyel piano was in Palma. The owners were the Canut family, who had bought it from Chopin, with George Sand being the intermediary. The instrument has always been the dominant feature of the museum.

Chopin's Pleyel piano and tondo with Chopin's profile.Museum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

Pianists, such as the Poles Wanda Landowska (1911) and Arthur Rubinstein (1917), visited the Canut house to view the legendary piano. The growing interest in Chopin culminated in a tribute being made to him on the island. The idea to create a museum emerged.

Showcase with Canut's documents about Chopin and Sand in Majorca (1838-1839)Museum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

Since 1932, along with the piano, documents from the Canut family archives relating to Chopin and George Sand's stay in Mallorca have been put on display.

Letter of Credence that George Sand brought to Majorca (1838) by Gaspar RemisaMuseum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

Among the documents displayed is a letter of credit that George Sand carried to be handed to the Canut bankers in Palma. The document allowed them access to cash during their months spent on the island.

Showcase showing the cast of Chopin's face and handMuseum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

Over the years, the collection grew, with the addition of memorabilia relating to Chopin and George and their visit to the island. The donations, deposits, and acquisitions have all served to enrich the museum.

Chopin (1945) by Joan Borrell i NicolauMuseum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

Among the items dating to the early days of the museum is a sculpture of Chopin's head, made by Catalan sculpture Joan Borrell-Nicolau (Barcelona 1888 - 1951), which has occupied the piano room since 1945.

Chopin and Hiller profiles (c.1835) by AnónimoMuseum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

The most recent items include a unique medallion made around 1835 featuring Chopin and Ferdinand Hiller's faces, along with their signatures. The medallion bears testimony to the deep friendship between the two pianists, who would often share concerts.

Photograph of the beginnings of the cell as a museum (1932)Museum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

At the beginning, antique furniture was included to recreate the period when Chopin and George Sand rented the cell. Most of the furniture came from the Canut family home.

Old photograph of the cell (1945)Museum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

Around 1940, a major revamp took place and most of the antique furniture was removed. The piano was relocated and a more simple ambience was created, reflecting the way they are known to have lived in Valldemossa.

Chopin's piano in the cell of the Carthusian monastery of ValldemossaMuseum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

Nowadays, the piano is still in the same place and the same room where Chopin used it to finish his works.

Interior of the cellMuseum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

One of the sides of the main room leading to the garden retains the same character as it did in 1932.

Photograph of the beginnings of the cell as a museum (1932)Museum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

From the inside, it offered unobstructed views of the mountains, without the abundant vegetation that is present in the garden today.

Photograph from the Charterhouse in 1893 (1893)Museum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

The view from the cell was repeatedly the subject of paintings by George Sand and her son Maurice. From here she believed she could hear the sound of the sea on a stormy day, which is actually impossible because of the distance. That sound can still be heard today, but it is in fact the sound of woodland leaves.

Interior of the cellMuseum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

The third room of the cell, which was the kitchen and Carthusian monks' workshop, is largely dedicated to Chopin's appearance. One of the cabinets in this room is dedicated to the composer's renowned burial.

Borges in front of Chopin's piano (1980)Museum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

Hundreds of thousands of people have visited the cell. Many have left a written testimony in the signature book which is open to the public. Among the prominent individuals to come and see Chopin's piano is the writer Jorge Luis Borges (1980).

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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