Mariette Lydis Biography

Mariette Lydis




Mariette Lydis was born Mariette Ronsperger, the third child of Jewish merchants, in Vienna-Baden, Austria on August 24, 1887. At age 20 she and her sister Edith attended the theater in Arosa, Switzerland where Mariette began reading her poetry, many of which were later set to music by Franz Schreker and Eric Korngold. She converted to Protestantism in 1910.

Mariette married Jean Lydis in 1922 and they separated in Athens in 1925. She departed from Vienna arriving in Paris on the arm of the Italian writer Massimo Bontempelli. She arrived in Paris in 1926 and she eventually became a French citizen. In 1928 she married Comte Giuseppi Govone, an art publisher (legalized in 1932).

An accomplished engraver, painter and illustrator, Lydis was a member of the Salon d’Automne. She escaped Paris and the ensuing Nazi roundup of Jews, Lydis and her partner Erica Marx lived for a brief time in Winchcombe, England before sailing as a refugee to Buenos Aires in July of 1940. She and Marx lived and worked in Argentina until Lydis' death in Recoletta, Buenos Aires on April 26, 1970.

Lydis was also close to the aviator Amelia Earhart. Mariette Lydis lived in Argentina for the rest of her life. Her style was influenced by that of the Japanese artist Tsuguharu Foujita, whom she knew in Montmartre. There is always an edge of ambiguous sexuality and danger in the art of Mariette Lydis, well-represented in our prints, hand-coloured drypoints for Verlaine’s Parallelement and etchings and aquatints illustrating the poetry of Baudelaire and Rimbaud. Her work is in many major museums and collections worldwide.

Taken in part from Idbury Prints