Home of Jan Matuszyński
Jan Matuszyński, one of Chopin’s closest friends, was born in 1808. The two met on a school bench at the Warsaw Lyceum. Their correspondence began during the summer holidays and continued even after Chopin had left the country for good (Matuszyński is the addressee of six letters known to have been written by the composer).
Matuszyński was musically gifted and was encouraged in this direction as a child. This is evidenced by a paragraph in the Kurier Warszawski [Warsaw courier] of May 1823: ‘Jan Matuszyński, the son of a Warsaw citizen, gave a concert on the transverse flute during the epistles in the Bernardine church yesterday. His assuredness and purity of tone, and his fluency and feeling convinced the experts that, with further practice, this youngster could distinguish himself as an excellent artist. Apart from his inborn aptitude, he owes his talent to his respectable teacher, Mr Ziernstejn, first transverse flautist at the National Theatre’.
Despite his artistic talents, Matuszyński decided to follow family tradition and take up medicine. He commenced his studies in Warsaw and obtained his doctorate in Tübingen, in 1834. He went to Paris soon afterwards and lived with Chopin in 1834–1836 – much to the satisfaction of the composer’s parents.
Matuszyński tried to cure Chopin over the next few years (e.g. in a letter from Chopin to Auguste Franchomme, probably from 1841, we read: ‘My dear friend, be so kind as to make my excuses to Mme Gangler, but I have been spitting blood for an hour, and Matuszyński gave me medicine instead of dinner’). The two remained close friends.
Unfortunately, Matuszyński contracted tuberculosis in 1842 and succumbed soon afterwards. Chopin was moved to George Sand’s residence at Place Pigalle 16. Sand later wrote in a letter to Pauline Viardot: ‘His Polish friend, the doctor, an old schoolmate of Chopins’, died in our arms in a slow and cruel agony that made poor Chopin suffer as if he was going through it himself’.
Matuszyński lived in this residence on ul. Elektoralna (now ul. Chłodna) while he was a pupil at the Warsaw Lyceum in 1825–1826.