Entertainment Art lover and enemy of the Nazis: Ida Dehmel

Art lover and enemy of the Nazis: Ida Dehmel

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"Is there a more wonderful reward than being a nice idea for many rows of people?" Ida Dehmel noted in her diary in 1906. She was the woman whom the poet Richard Dehmel, who was famous throughout Europe at the time, adored with his verses. Dehmel's books had titles like "Frau und Welt" or "Zwei Menschen". Ida and he were the dream couple of the literary turn of the century. With the setting of “Transfigured Night”, Arnold Schönberg created a timeless monument to this love, which is above all conventions. But the memory of Ida Dehmel should be erased.

The path to the center of the art world was by no means predetermined for the young Ida Coblenz when she was born in Bingen am Rhein in 1870. The father, a successful Jewish wine merchant, raised her with a strict hand. The daughter later formulated that art had broken into her life like light wells. In the middle-class world of the wealthy parental home in the province, the young Ida devoured books by authors such as Strindberg, Ibsen and Nietzsche, played the piano passionately and became the early companion and first love of an adolescent poet: Stefan George.

An avant-garde island

At her father's request, Ida married a Berlin merchant named Auerbach, consul of Colombia, in 1895. If the marriage was also not fortunate, Ida Auerbach developed her talent as a salonière in the feudal apartment at the Tiergarten. It was not the established artists who were found in the other salons of the city that interested them, but the young savages. She looked for the composers of new songs, the painters of newly discovered worlds, the creators of a new language style, presented names such as Edvard Munch and Stanisław Przybyszewski. The advice of the "zoo lady" was appreciated by artists and their help was asked for. Helping new works of art to emerge became Ida's life theme.

The fateful encounter with Richard Dehmel, who was also married, turned into inevitable love. Although still pregnant by her husband, Ida Auerbach decided to devote her life entirely to art. She spent two years traveling through Europe with Dehmel before the couple married in London and found a new home in Blankenese. Her apartment, inspired by Peter Behrens and Henry van de Velde, became an island of the avant-garde in the conservative Hamburg area. Ida Dehmel loved staging as a poet's wife, wearing unusual clothes and striking jewelry. Some Hanseat acknowledged this with blank eyes, others succumbed to their fascination. “She was sitting in an armchair by the door and obviously knew how pictorial she looked. In reality, both represented the 'two people' as they were supposed to be after the 'novel in romances', ”recalled the art collector Gustav Schiefler.

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