Saturday, June 18, 2011

Eleonora Duse watching Ibsen's window...

"La Duse watching Ibsen's window" (By Gustavo Thomas. 2011)

She was there when he was dying
but couldn't see him,
couldn't kiss him,
nor thanking him.

She was there, just waiting for him to appear
but he never did

She was there, just looking and waiting,
they say...

"Duse was visiting Norway for the first time, largely in the hope of meeting the dramatist who had provided her with her greatest triumphs. On her arrival she sent a letter and flowers to Ibsen asking if she might call merely to say "¨Thank you". Suzannah, however, telephoned that Ibsen was too ill to receive anyone. Lugné-Poe, who was with Duse at the time, tell what followed

I remember very well that morning when she had just received this sad message. I went in to her and found her swathed in the long white paladrane which she loved to wear. She sat fearful, annihilated, hollow-cheeked, her face tired and lined as though life was abandoning her. She asked me: "What shall I do? Please, what shall I do?"... What could I do for her? I had hoped so much, for her sake... Next morning, around noon Duse and i found ourselves outside Henrik Ibsen's house. She had bought Norwegian boots, for she wished to go there on foot. We walked round the left of the palace, and at the stroke of twelve we stood beneath the corner window, where, every day at this time, people could see Dr. Ibsen in person, sometimes with a secretary or someone at his side. Duse stood there waiting, in the cold and snow. Who, even thirty years later, would not be shaken by the memory of having been present at that sad and silent meeting? Eleonora Duse on the pavement, looking for the old poet's silhouette behind the big window."

Ibsen's Biography. By Michael Meyer.

My painting is based in a original photograph of Eleonora Duse taken for the production of Ibsen's play The Lady from the Sea.

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