Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Lili Elbe story - Man into Woman

About Lili Elbe's autobiography 'Man into Woman.
Lili herself is the actual author of the book. The friend, sometimes mistakenly described as the author, was actually her editor, and assembled the manuscripts for publication after Lili’s death. His pseudonym was Niels Hoyer, and his real name was Ernst Ludwig Hathorn Jacobson. Lili gave pseudonyms to other friends she mentions in her book, in order to protect them from the public exposure she could not avoid for herself.
Lili also uses a variation of her wife’s actual name when writing about her. Gerda Gottlieb Wegener becomes Grete in the book, while Lili substitutes Andreas Sparre for her birth name of Einar Mogens Wegener.

Excerpt from the book review by Karin with the real story of Lili and quotes from her book:
...“About this time Grete painted the portrait of the then popular actress in Copenhagen, Anna Larsen. One day Anna was unable to attend the appointed sitting. On the telephone she asked Grete, who was somewhat vexed: ‘Cannot Andreas pose as a model for the lower part of the picture? His legs and feet are as pretty as mine.’”
Andreas, or rather Einar, did so with great reluctance, and when Anna Larsen unexpectedly arrived at the studio during the sitting, to see Einar dressed up and posing instead of her, she nicknamed her stand-in Lili.

“You know, Andreas, you were certainly a girl in a former existence, or else Nature has made a mistake with you this time,” the actress reportedly said.
Lili began to pose regularly for Gerda. Gerda and Einar later moved to Paris after suspicions arose about who her mysterious female sitter really was, scandal hot on their heels, along with the threat of exposure by a Danish quack radium doctor Einar had consulted for a cure.
Paris is a far larger, more cosmopolitan city than Copenhagen. More opportunities for Lili to show her face in public existed in the French capital than Denmark. Anonymity was so much easier to maintain when she did so.
And go out she did, to the artists’ balls and public events common in the pre-war and between-wars periods. Lili started to appear at home too, and in Gerda’s studio, at her behest, and the paintings and sketches that made her famous began...  
Lili related articles

Pictures: Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander as Lili and Gerda in ‘The Danish Girl’ (trailer screencap) - Gerda and Lili (x) and Lili Elbe portrait (x) painted by Gerda Wegener, and a photograph of Lili herself, with Elna Tegner, wife of Danish sculptor Rudolph Tegner. (x)

The Danish Girl tells the story of the painter Einar Wegener, who had the world’s first gender-reassignment 
surgery and became Lili Elbe. But his wife Gerda had a fascinating life and career of her own

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