Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Elisar von Kupffer

I should admit that I never heard about Elisar von Kupffer (1872-1942), before discovering him through W. von Gloeden's network of European admirers. Elisar von Kupffer was an influential and very creative gay writer and artist, born in Tallinn, educated in St. Petersburg and Berlin. He made several travels in Italy from 1902 to 1915: he most certainly met von Gloeden in Taormina.

Then he established himself in Locarno (Switzerland) with his partner, the historian and philosopher Eduard von Meyer (1873-1960). From 1925 to 1929, they transformed their Minusio Villa into an unbelievable private Art Museum. It was the "Sanctuarium Artis Elisarion". Art and religion were closely linked, and von Kupffer and von Meyer launched a new religious movement called the Klarismus ("Clarity").

Von Kupffer was also the author of an anthology of homoerotic literature, Lieblingminne und Freundesliebe in der Weltliteratur (published by Adolf Brand, 1899-1900), a way to protest against the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde in England, as well as of various theatrical plays, poems and scholarly works (for example a monograph on Sodoma, a Renaissance artist).

As a photographer, he made photographic studies of boys and used them in the creation of his paintings.

(NB: most of the above biographical sketch relies on the wikipedia entry on Elisar von Kupffer

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