Letters from Henrik Ibsen to Helene Raff

The Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) lived in Munich for eleven years in total, from 1875 to 1891, with interruptions. As a hero of all modern-minded people and followers of naturalism, he held up a mirror to the world around him in his social dramas. Ibsen was particularly important for the women's movement: his new type of woman, as embodied for example in A Doll's House (1879), propagates the desire for more self-determination and the independent and financially independent modern woman.

Helene Raff (1865-1942) met Ibsen in Gossensa├č (South Tyrol) during the summer break in 1889. Their relationship deepened in Munich, where they kissed on parting. Raff kept a diary in which she outlined her encounters with Ibsen. In 1890 she gave him a portrait of a girl which he called "little Solveig" in allusion to his drama Peer Gynt. In the letter of 21 March 1890 shown here, Ibsen expresses his gratitude "for the wonderfully charming picture which made yesterday so unforgettable for me."

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