Eduard (1811–1889) and Lida Bendemann, née Schadow (1821–1895)

Portraits of Lida and Eduard Bendemann,  Reproductions of old photographies
[fig.] Portraits of Lida and Eduard Bendemann, Reproductions of old photographies

The history painter and portraitist Eduard Bendemann studied with Wilhelm von Schadow at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. He had been a professor at the Academy in Dresden since 1838 and was Director of the Düsseldorf Academy between 1858 and 1867. Schumann mentioned Bendemann for the first time in 1842; they often discussed questions of painting. Bendemann, on his part, tried to perceive and understand Schumann’s compositions. The painter was also the godfather of the early deceased son Emil.

Lida Bendemann was the daughter of Johann Gottfried Schadow and the stepsister of Wilhelm von Schadow. Schumann dedicated his “Pictures from the East”, Op. 66, to her; she was also an associate member of his Dresden Choral Singing Society.
Eduard Bendemann’s sister Pauline married the painter Julius Hübner who had also studied in Düsseldorf and then worked in Dresden. The Schumanns, Bendemanns and Hübners were close friends and the friendship continued even after the departure of Clara and Robert Schumann and still after Robert’s death.

Clara Schumann was a frequent guest of the Bendemanns; in 1859, the artist made a drawing of Robert after a daguerreotype as well as a portrait of Clara as a pendant.

Clara Schumann had noted her admiration for Eduard Bendemann as a friend and an artist in her diary as early as January 1845; she considered him to be of a modest “[and yet so artistic nature ... something so comfortable and inspiring confidence that one is compelled to feel true admiration for him [...]]” In the winter of 1863, the Bendemanns accommodated Schumann’s daughter Julie at their house. After one of her frequent visits to the Bendemanns, Clara wrote in 1871: “[If only I could always keep company with these dear and magnificent people, what a gain that would be, what a refreshment for the heart!]”

After the death of Eduard Bendemann in Düsseldorf on 27th December 1889 - shortly before that, Clara had still seen the painter fresh and lively - she called him, in a letter to Marie von Lindeman, her oldest friend who “[had been so very supportive in all circumstances, a true friend, and what a wonderful person and artist! – It is a most severe loss, and now all my thoughts are with the poor woman who is also so close to my heart.]”

When Lida Bendemann died on 5th August 1895, Clara Schumann wrote to the same friend: “[The loss of Mrs Bendemann hit me very badly and I still feel as if it had not happened at all. She was the most loyal friend and always there to help me, the same as her husband. Losing such friends in old age is twice as hard - they are irreplaceable because they have lived through a whole lifetime and shared so many joys and sorrows with you.]”

Clara Schumann had also been able to see Lida Bendemann shortly before her death, in June. She had often asked her and her previously deceased husband for advice and exchanged thoughts about life and art.

(Julia M. Nauhaus, translated by Thomas Henninger)

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