Rosalie Leser (1812 or 1815 – 1896)

Rosalie Leser, Altersbildnis.
Rosalie Leser, portrait Reproduction of a photography from the Robert-Schumann-Haus, Zwickau

Rosalie Leser was the daughter of a entrepreneur in Düsseldorf and became blind at the age of nine. She and the Schumanns were friends since 1850. Robert Schumann dedicated op. 126 of his “Seven Piano Pieces in Fughette form”, and she was godmother of the youngest daughter Eugenie Schumann.

After Robert's admission to the mental hospital in Bonn-Endenich, pregnant Clara was stayed with Rosalie Leser who lived with her friend Elise Jungé until her death in 1875.  Rosalie was Clara's close confidante and a great support in the difficult time of Robert's illness and death. Even after the departure from Düsseldorf, the friendship remained in a close and friendly way.

When Clara had bought the house in Lichtenthal near Baden-Baden, also Rosalie Leser spent the summer times with her friend. Clara Schumann visited her regularly, usually twice a year, and they for instance celebrated Christmas together. She played to her and took her for walks. Clara reported regularly in her letters about her life. By the end of January 1854 Clara wrote into her diary: "I'm most just with her and I do not ask for further company; she understands me completely and looks up at Robert with the utmost adoration. This attracts me double to her. She also knows to make sacrifices for friendship, or she rather feels so true for us, that she for instance gives up her music despite her great love to it, at which we are not involved ...". Her goddaughter Eugenie wrote about Rosalie Leser that she had a clear mind, an open heart and the finest tact and  moreover was very discreet.

The last letter of Clara to her friend dates back to 16th of March 1896. Rosalie Leser died three days before Clara Schumann.


(J.M.N., translated by Katharina Ma)

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