Untitled by Charlotte Salomon

From a panel in “Life? or Theatre?” in which Daberlohn says to Charlotte, “May you never forget that I believe in you.”

A large part of Life? or Theater? is about her obsession with Amadeus Daberlohn, a voice teacher she met through her stepmother Paulinka Bimbam (Salomon gives all her characters humorous, often punning, pseudonyms). These sections are honest and compelling accounts of her passionate relationship with Alfred Wolfsohn – the one person who took her artistic work seriously. It is not possible to know if Salomon's version of her relationship with Wolfsohn corresponds with reality, but he was undoubtedly her first love.

...Paula Lindberg-Salomon hired Alfred Wolfsohn as her voice coach, and in the course of the next year he became Salomon’s mentor and first lover (though he was, according to Salomon’s telling, in love with her stepmother, his “Madonna”). Wolfsohn—named Amadeus Daberlohn (“Penniless Mozart”) in “Life? or Theatre?”—was 21 years Salomon’s senior and something of a ladies’ man, and his entrance into her art work is marked with the “Toreador’s Song” from “Carmen.” So began Salomon’s real education.

Salomon adored him, but, in “Life? or Theatre?,” Charlotte is not oblivious to his pomposity. “You are now in the room of a poor poet, who is both ascetic and prophetic,” Daberlohn announces in one text.

In Wolfsohn’s unpublished manuscript from 1946, “The Bridge,” he wrote that Salomon’s unremitting silence “forced me to play the clown,” and that their endless, one-sided conversations became a kind of seduction: “She was extraordinarily taciturn, and unable to break through and emerge from the barrier that she had built round herself.” In one of Salomon’s gouaches, Charlotte shows Daberlohn her haunting drawing of “Death and the Maiden,” based on the Schubert song, set to the poem by Matthias Claudius. In this image, the young maiden gazes longingly into Death’s eyes, his cloaked figure tenderly embracing her, his large skeletal hand encircling her small head. “That’s the two of us,” Daberlohn says.

...On the other hand, he still has the right for such assumptions, since the described in the "Life? or Theater?" series love story between her and Alfred Wolfsohn almost completely took place in the girl’s head. While this view of the events was a complete surprise for the hero of her novel; in his own words, he only regarded Charlotte as a difficult teenager, who had a way with....
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Imported from: media.newyorker.com
Media: gouache