Clara Schumann biography - hand illustrated with classical music facts

2021 classic music famous woman portrait explained

There was a time, Clara Schumann was the most famous pianist player ! Even Robert Schumann was nicknamed "the husband of Clara Wieck".

clara wieck schumann biography print

Here is the story of the most talented romantic piano Woman player who is not a man !

Here is the biographical portrait of her and illustrated fun facts of this amazing woman !

1.A child prodigy, daughter of Friedrich Wieck

Clara was born in Germany and grew up in Leipzig. His father was Friedrich Wieck : a well known and talented Piano teacher -maybe the best - : Everyone who wanted to be a piano prodigy went to his school to attend the famous.

1-clara wieck is born in 1819 in leipzig germany

" Wieck's Piano Education for a Delicate Touch and a Singing Sound".

Divorced, Friedrich keep his daughter and trained her to be a child prodigy.

2-virtuoso school academy wieck friedrich wieck clara

She attend daily courses based on a one-hour musical theory lesson and two hours of intense piano practice.

2.Clara wieck plays Sell-out concert in Vienna

Aged 17, Clara Wieck performed concerts to sell-out crowds in Vienna.

 3-clara wieck plays sold out concerts in vienna bach beethoven

Among the Critical reviews, we could read :

"To the celebrated artist, Clara Wieck"

Even a critic wrote a poem "Clara Wieck and Beethoven"

4-clara wieck acclaimed by the critics chopin liszt

Chopin described her playing to Franz Liszt and received the Austria's highest musical honor. " Königliche und Kaiserliche Österreichische Kammer-virtuosin"

5-clara wieck virtuoso prize austria -  Königliche und Kaiserliche Österreichische Kammer-virtuosin

3.When Robert met Clara

Clara Wieck stared to tour at the age of 9. She was pretty, young, talented. It's natural all the boys were falling in love with her.

During her piano lessons, she met another gifted young pianist : Robert Schumann. She is 9, He is 17.

6-robert schumann meet clara at friedrich wieck education school

Little story is Robert, after meeting the young prodigy, convinced his mother to stop his law school  and enrolled to the prestigious Wieck School and take music lessons with Clara's father.

7-clara and robert schumann romance letters and love

One eye on the keyboard, one eye on Clara...

4. Fathers Love VS Robert Love

Robert Schumann was mad in love with Clara and Clara's father was mad in love with her prodigy daughter : this leads to a severe Love affair !

8-when robert ask clara 's hand friedrich wieck refused

After years of secret relationships tons of love letters, Robert finaly asked Clara's hand : she was 18 and had her majority. She says yes But her father refused.

If Clara marries Schumann, I would say upon my death-bed that she is not worthy to be my daughter. - Friedrich Wieck

Clara's father wrote anonymous letters picturing Schumann as worthless and untalented Musician.

9-clara schumann wedding father worthless robert anonymous letters

He was really furious seeing his daughter leaving the musical world when being a wife and mother, wasting her talent : he took the matter to court. 

At the age of 22, Clara finally marry Robert. Resulting in two years "cold relationship" with her father. Friedrich Wieck reconciled himself with the couple, eager to see his grandchildren.

5.Part time mother / concert pianist

Their marriage worked like a great business partnership : with Clara acting as an inspiration, critic, and piano executive : Robert can't play everything with his wounded fingers.

10-clara wieck robert schumann married business partnership

She's pretty but extremely strong-willed and energetic : The pregant woman is not afraid of the overcharged schedule of concert tours and take care of her numerous children.

11-clara schumann earns money and raised childrens

She gave birth to eight children ! And had to make sacrifices to be a Mother and Pianist : she abandoned her musical career as a virtuoso and Composer and work as a part time concert pianist in order to support her family.

12-clara wieck husband robert schumann

Robert is not yet famous - he is known as "the husband of Clara Wieck", don't earn much money and have a fragile mental health.

6.Clara Schumann eight Children

The couple get married in 1840 : he was 30 and Clara was 21. They spent 10 years as partners in family life and careers.

She took charge of finances and general household affairs and gave birth to 8 children every 18 months !

13-clra schumann wieck 8 eight children with robert

She organised her musical tour and hired a housekeeper and a cook to keep house while she was away. Her first Child Marie was a great support and help in theses tasks as well. Here are all the Childrens :

  • Marie (1841–1929)
  • Elise (1843–1928)
  • Julie (1845–1872)
  • Emil (1846–1847)
  • Ludwig (1848–1899)
  • Ferdinand (1849–1891)
  • Eugenie (1851–1938)
  • Felix (1854–1879).

She was the breadwinner for her family and the the sole one after Robert was admitted in an Asylum and then died.

14-clara schumann supporting her family and mental ill robert husband


6.Clara Schumann and the young Brahms

As Robert becoming more and more consumed by his madness, Clara met a young and brilliant musician as the person of Johannes Brahms. She took care of his talent and makes everything right for him to met the right people and becoming a musical star of the nineteen Century.

16-clara wieck met johannes brahms

After his drowning attempt, Robert is admited in a mental health medical institute. Clara is completely Alone, she found company With of her young protégé. The nature of their relation was writen on all the letters between Clara and Brahms.

17-burning letters correspondance between clara schumann and brahms

But Johannes Brahms decided to burn all his letter correspondence with something on his mind :

  • having a desire to control the conversations around his legacy.
  • To protect Clara about gossips on a romantically affair .

18-clara schumann protect her legacy temple of secrets robert

The exact nature of their relationship is still unknown, but they both stay very close until 1896, the year Clara Schumann passed away

7.Clara Schumann's husband mental illness and death

Ten years of happy times between Clara and Robert then followed by first symptom of madness for Robert. He attempted a suiscide in 1854, jumping into the Rhine river. Not the first suiscide attempt but this one leads him straight to an asylum.

15-clara schumann and robert schumann mental health asylum madness

Clara was left alone with their children and close friends. Robert passed away two years later in July 1856 after an ultimate encounter where he holds his wife in his arms a last time.

19-clara hug husband a last time before he died

"With his departure, all my happiness is over. A new life is beginning for me." - Clara Schumann

8.Clara Schumann and Composition

"A woman must not wish to compose."- Clara Schumann 

Following the death of her husband, Clara Schumann did not go back to composing music.

20-clara schumann widow did not compose again

Her career as a composer was well and truly over, but not as a pianist. Clara Schumann performed all around Europe her organised tours to perform the works of her late husband Robert

21-clara schumann plays robert compition for posterity and legacy

A kind of final homage to bring all his work and hers to Posterity.

Want more details ?

The print of is available on my website with plenty more details put indide the portrait.

clara schumann art print biography portrait

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