Poles and France


André J. Fabre          18avril 2011

Venus of this Franco-Polish community, so strong, so well organized, we wanted to show the fate of seven unusual characters 


Major episode in the History of relations between France and Poland  : on May 15, 1573, the day of Pentecost, Henry de Valois ascended the throne of Poland.

Queen Catherine had sent the bishop of Valence, Jean Monluc in extraordinary embassy to present to the Diet, before 1573 elections, the candidacy of her son to the throne of Poland. Montluc convinced the Diet to elect  Henry as King of Polen,  under the name of Henryk IV Walezy.

August 19, 1573, a large Polish delegation of 10 ambassadors and 250 gentlemen of arms was sent to France to bring to Polen the new Kingt. French chroniclers report in detail their amazement to see the long  mustaches and strange dresses of the Polish ambassadors arriving to Paris.

The new king was forced to sign a "Pacta Conventa" and "Articles of King Henry" ("Artykuły Henrykowskie"), as all Polish-Lithuanian sovereigns. According to those documents Henry had to stop any persecution against the Protestants and settle religious tolerance in Poland in accordance with the 1573Confederation of Warsaw ("Konfederacja Warszawska"). Henry was in no hurry to leave France and dragged out his departure. However, he bade farewell to his brother, now king of France, in December 1573.

Henry arrived in Krakow on February 18, 1574 after a quiet three-month travel across the German states. He brought with him a large party of his nearest courtesans : Albert de Gondi, Louis de Gonzague, Charles de Guise, and François O, his "favourite".

On February 21, the young (23 years old) prince  is crowned king, but he flatly refuses to take as spouse Anna Jagiellon, sister of Sigismund II Augustus, allegedly too old (she was nearly fifty years) and decayed ...

The short stay of Henry Ill Poland was not quite pleasant for him. Having to live  in Wawel Castle, he soon experienced  that a king of Poland is far from having the same powers as King of France. Henry bitterly regretted the Court of France, its splendor and its pleasures.

When he received a letter telling him the desperate state of his brother Charles IX (presumably dying of pulmonary tuberculosis), Henry planned at once a return to France. On 18 June, when he got the news of  the death of his brother three weeks earlier, Henry, hastily left his palace in great secret without a word to any of his courtesans...

In fact, Henry left to the Diet the duty to find a successor : it would be Bathory, ruler of Transylvania ...

From Poland, Henry went first Austria, arriving in Wien on . June 23, five days after his "escape". He was received with great pomp by the Emperor Maximilian at an expense, say the chroniclers, of nearly 150,000 écus.

Leaving  Wien, Henry went across the Alps by the Brenner Pass to reach Italy, where he intended to stay a while. will stay long.

After a brief stay in Verona, Henry arrives in Venice on July 18, 1574. He is received at the Foscari palace with great  magnificence by Doge Alvise Mogenico. All along his march through Venice were triumph arches decorated by Tintoretto and Veronese.

For his visit of the laguna, Henry was given a  richly decorated  galley, with a crew of four hundred Slavic rowers and an escort of 14 vessels. The party stopped in Murano, where an army of master glassmakers showed to the future king of France their talent glass blowing from ovens disguised as fire-eaters sea monsters...

All this is superbly depicted on the mosaics of Palazzo Barbarigo on the Grand Canal. This palace typical of the Venetian Renaissance style

Atr the grand banquet given by the Doge, the ladies were dressed in robes and wore dazzling jewels. Food was served to 3,000 guests After dinner, tguests attended the first opera ever present in Italy, Daphne from Jacopo Peri. The evening ended by showing to the young prince a magnificent galley constructed during the banquet and launched from the Ducal Palace.

Amidst all this luxury, the future king appeared somewhat drowsy, and many that the Prince had overused of  Venetian pleasures. Indeed, as the story goes the  Prince had spent the night with one  of the most famous whores of Venice, the beautiful Veronica Franco, listed in the "Catalogo di tutte le principal and Honorate Cortigiane piu di Venezia".

Henry will then go with the Burchiello (flat-bottomed boat) up the Brenta to Padua then he went to Ferrara and Mantua. In August, he was at Monza where he met Charles Borromeo aristocrat then bishop of Milan.

In Turin, Henry III found his aunt Margaret of France and the Duke of Savoy, who traveled with him to Chambery : Henry crossed the Alps aboard a luxurious litter with glass allowing to enjoy enjoy the landscape ...

On his return to France, Henry became king, in May 1574, under the name of Henri III. His first act was to create the Order of the Holy Spirit, in reference to his own birth, his coronation to the throne of Poland, and later on that of France, all had occurred on the day of Pentecost.


  Chernoviz Louis Napoleon, is a Polish doctor who had found refuge in France after the failed uprising in Warsaw in 1831.

Once acquired Montpellier his doctorate in medicine, he obtained in 1840 by King Louis Philippe to be sent on a mission to Brazil to the Emperor Dom Pedro.

After a successful medical career in Rio de Janeiro, he began during his stay in Brazil writing several books of medical extension that would make his fame, in particular, a popular medicine Guide, published in 1841, Formulário Guia Medico, which having considerable success with a population still largely devoid of doctors. This book, along with a significant iconography shows a wide range of native plants in Brazil, detailing their therapeutic indications.

Among a total of more than 200 medicinal plants, including: Ipecac Psychotria (Ipecacuanha) anti-diarrheal, emetic and expectorant, Anacardium occidentale (Cajueiro) diabetes and Jacaranda caroba (Caroba) treatment of venereal diseases

In the nineteenth century, the century of scientism triumphant: medicinal plants had lost all credibility with the scientific community. Phytomedicine was considered an empirical practice reserved at best herbalists at worst charlatans.

The merit of Louis Napoleon Chernoviz is to have an early start, in 1841, a systematic exploration of traditional medicinal plants in Brazil. It was the foundation of a new discipline: ethnopharmacology, which complement an ethnobotanical study of an interdisciplinary materials of plant origin, knowledge and practices relating thereto, available for therapeutic purposes, healing , preventive. Several botanical works were published early in the nineteenth century, the Brazilian flora including Saint-Hilaire in his Book of common plants in Brazil (1824) and Carl Frederich von Martius in Systema De Materia (1840)

Following publication came from many, especially those of Joaquim Monteiro Caminhoá author of a Botanica Medica Elementos Geral e (1877), and Theodor Peckolt with his Historia das plantas e Medicinaes Úteis do Brazil (1884).

The World Health Organization, WHO, has taken a clear position in favor of the development of ethno-pharmacological research: in April 2009 the Division of Traditional Medicine, WHO has recognized the therapeutic value of traditional medicines to South America and recommended the principle of an assessment based on pharmacological tests. But much remains to be done!


  Guillaume Apollinaire, whose real name is Wilhelm Albert Włodzimierz Apolinary Waz-Kostrowicki was born in Rome of a mother, Angelika Kostrowicka, after the Polish nobility. The father's name is not known, it is only known that he was an officer in the army of Italy.

Apollinaire is the great ancestor of all avant-garde artists of the twentieth century, both Cubism and was a precursor surrealism that he coined the name.

Author of poems become classics of French literature, such as the Pont Mirabeau, Alcohols, collection of poems written between 1898 and 1913, Calligrammes, poems of peace and war, Apollinaire also left countless collections of short stories, novels erotic, stories, reviews books and chronicles,

At the onset of the Great War, after a few misguided attempts to engage in the French armed, the poet is accepted in December 1914, triggering the naturalization process that has long been advocating.

In March 1916 Apollinaire was wounded in the forehead by shrapnel. Evacuated to Paris, he underwent trepanation on May 10, 1916. Despite the  war he married Jacqueline (the "pretty red haired girl of the poem), s. However, weakened from his injury, Guillaume Apollinaire died November 9, 1918 from  Spanish flu.

Guillaume Apollinaire was therefore half Polish origins because of his mother what place did he give to Poland during his brief existence? Two well forgotten names should come in mind:

Mecislas Goldberg (1869-1907) from him  remains a beautiful bust of Antoine Bourdelle,

Gierszynski Stanislas (1879-1911), son of a Polish physician installed in Ouarville small village not far from Chartres: his archives are held by the Polish Library in Paris and contain many references to his meetings with Apollinaire and Golberg.

Let us appreciate  the truth, Italy, the country where Apollinaire was born , held more place in the life of Apollinaire than Poland!


  Ubu the King of Poland is certainly not a realistic play: If Jarry Ubu King uses to speak about "Poland, is to say "Nowhere"  it is not so simple: there are at least three references to Poland in the play !

City names are correct: The fact that Poland is "nowhere" xould also be seen as a reference to the history of this country, always invaded, torn between Russia and Germany.

Wenceslas, Ladislas and Boleslaw, all Slavic names are authentic, as Stanislas Leszczynski, the name given to a peasant room beyond.

"If there was no Poland, there would be no Poles" used to comment Alfred Jarry...

  JEAN WITOLD (1913-1966)

  Jean Witold, Count Witold Jedlinski (Vitold was a surname), a descendant of a Polish officer whose family after Warsaw uprising of November 1830 and the crushing of the revolt by the Russian army, had emigrated France.

Engaged in the war with Spain, he was thereafter deported to Germany during the Second World War.

Musicologist, conductor and composer, Jean Witold presented in 1948 and for more than ten years, a very popular radio program dedicated to the great musicians.

His claim to fame was to have helped to get out of oblivion Albinoni's "Adagio", one of the most popular classics of our time. Jean Witold had found the adagio in an old manuscript, in the library of a rich weaver, in Epinal. He had then  the adagio "developed" by one of his friends organist

For modern musicologists, the "Adagio for strings and organ in G minor",  often misrepresented as a work of baroque music was in reality composed in 1945 by the Italian musicologist Remo Giazotto (1910-1998) from a fragment containing some elements of a lost work of Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751).

In the 60s, this adagio experienced an immense success and remains today one of the most popular works, hampion of all  disk engraved music. There has been countless arrangements, reorchestrations and interpretations in all styles from symphonic variety, flamenco, jazz to  pop music, rock and techno, ...It has also been used several times for the cinema and for a series of TV.

Died prematurely in 1966 Jean Witold is buried in Marly-and the memory of the man who did so much for classical music is still present.


  Balthus Balthasar Klossowski de Rola was born to a Polish father , Art historian Eric Klossowski, and a mother, Elizabeth Dorothea Spiro, daughter of a synagogue cantor, and world famous  painter known under  the name of Baladine Klossowska.

The family took refuge in Switzerland during the First World War. Balthus was born in Paris but went to live with his mother in Switzerland after the divorce of his parents.

Despite often difficult material life, Ballerina Klossowski received many vistors in her modest apartment at 11, rue Malebranche, near the rue Soufflot. Among them : Rainer Maria Rilke, who had a profound influence on Balthus, Paul Valéry, André Gide, Stefan Zweig and Friedrich Siegburg, author of the well known "God is he French" ...

In 1924, Balthus set up his studio in Paris, rue de Furstenberg, and then, from 1936, Court of Rohan in the neighborhood of the Mint Palace.

He married in 1937 Antoinette de Watteville which served as a model in several paintings, including "La Toilette" and "Girl in amazon costume". In its rich production appear leitmotif incessant, cats and girls, symbolizing for Balthus, the state of joyful innocence

During the war, Balthus lived in Fribourg, Switzerland, where his two sons were born. After his separation from his wife, he returned to Paris and lived in Chateau de Chassy in Burgundy, where he spent nearly eight years.

In 1961, Balthus was appointed by André Malraux as Director of the Academy of France in Rome at the Villa Medici

He met Setsuko Idata young Japanese student who served as a model in "Turkish Room" and became his second wife.

 In 1977, Balthus returned to Switzerland, the canton of Vaud, where he ended his life in the beautiful chalet Rossinière of the canton of Vaud in Switzerland.

In 2001, a few hours to turn in easing a final injection of morphine, he gets to wear his favorite painting: "The naked in the mirror."

  TADEUS KANTOR (1915-1990)

  Director, happenings organizer, painter, designer, writer, art theorist, actor of his own shows, professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Tadeusz Kantor was all that at the same time, xalling himself a "total artist". Adding that he was throughout his career a great friend of France.

Tadeusz Kantor began his career at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, with Professor Karol Frycz, one of the most brilliant designer of the twentieth century.

His first shows are Jean Cocteau's Orpheus, Balladyna Juliusz Slowacki, the great Polish romantic nineteenth century and The Return of Ulysses Wyspianski, the flamboyant modernism that evokes a bit of Edward Munch style.

During the German occupation, Kantor organized in his Krakow apartments underground shows, and after the war, began his career as a set designer at the Kraków's Stary Theatre, one of the oldest theaters in Poland. He went on abstract painting and decorations until the late 60s.

In 1947, Kantor went to Paris, and this experience  will boost new ideas for his painting work.

In 1948, Kantor founded the "Krakow Group" but withdrew from public life when the communist authorities begin to impose socialist realism in art.

 Cricot 2

In 1955, onthe initiative of Kantor, a group of visual artists, critics and art theorists, based in Krakow "Cricot 2" (Cricot as an anagram of "cyrk to" the circus),

The first creation was "The Octopus" after Witkiewicz: collision of a sublime text and vulgar and banal environment, a coffee house. All Kantor's theatrical style is there: the actors move like puppets, while construction techniques scenes back to silent films.

  Theatre Package

Another component of the art of Kantor's "packaging" where the artist uses black plastic bags, which it envelops players. Packaging should steal the real forms of characters and objects, and turn them into a homogenized substance.

  The informal theater

The next step was the passage in "informal stage" (1960-1962), automatic theater, ruled by chance, by the movement of matter. "Le Petit Manoir" according Witkiewicz (1961), cast the actors all individuality, relegating them to the status of objects. However, the "informal theater" turns out to Kantor, unnecessarily loaded with unnecessary elements.

"theater zero"

"Theatre zero" (1962-1964) which follows, is devoid of any action or plot, and in "The fool and the nun" in 1963 from Witkiewicz.


Kantor will rise in 1965 "Cricotage" and "line-sharing" logical continuation of research and actions in the fields of theater and painting, the strength of happening: "So far, I pretended to subjugate scene, I now renounce any stage, that is to say, the remaining space in a defined relationship with the audience. In my search for a new space I have at my disposal, in principle, any the reality of life. " (Quoted by Jan Klossowicz).

  Theater of death

In 1972, Kantor finally returns to the theater, however, keeping some elements from happening. "The Dead Class" marks the beginning of another in the current theatrical creation Kantor designated himself as "Theatre of Death".

In the play, Kantor himself played the role of a teacher who has presided over a class of apparently dead characters who are confronted with mannequins representing their younger selves. He began experimenting with the juxtaposition of models and actors living

"Theatre of Death" emphasizes the principle of "Reality more Low Importance", present in all the work of Kantor. "This principle - he says - compels me to place the lowest possible things and present by means of the unarmed miserable Lowest material, devoid of dignity, even despicable."

Tadeusz Kantor, in turn, author of a new vision of the theater, an active participant in all the innovative avant-garde and even "neo-avant-garde", innovative firmly rooted in tradition, anti-painterly painter happener-heretic, was meant "total artist".

Nobody has yet managed to give a conclusive definition of culture "Mittel Europa" which even irrational way to emotion so strong but Tadeusz Kantor is certainly emblematic ...


  There could be no question to address in a short space of time for the great characters such as Frederic Chopin, Marie and Irene Curie or either, the very aspects of the Polish emigration in France estimated at least one million people and even less, the Polish community in the spin in the United States (about 8-10 million inhabitants especially in Chicago, the Polish neighborhood Jackowo), Germany or Scandinavia: the total can estimate 15 million

What is most remarkable is the strength of identity among Polish immigrants. Even after years of emigration, they do not forget the Polish culture and traditions ensure they pass on to their children. That's why they create cultural centers of Polish culture where new generations can learn the Polish language and know the culture. Most immigrants maintain frequent and regular contact with their relatives in Poland.

One can only recall the history of the Polish officer who said, this makes certain Curzio Malaparte in one of his books, he was ready to die for Poland but not necessarily live there.


a.fabre.fl @ gmail.com


Date de dernière mise à jour : 04/08/2013

Créer un site gratuit avec e-monsite - Signaler un contenu illicite sur ce site