August 7, 2016

"So Long, Marianne."



"Leonard Cohen penned a poignant final letter to his dying muse Marianne Ihlen, a longtime friend of hers revealed on Canadian radio...."
Her close friend Jan Christian Mollestad got in touch with Cohen to tell him Ihlen was dying [at the age of 81].... Mollestad, a documentary maker, read Cohen’s letter to her before she died.

“It said well Marianne it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don’t need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.”
From Sylvie Simmons, author of I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen:
"The first time I met Marianne, she was in her seventies and yet she seemed ageless, almost childlike in her openness and curiosity. The last time we met, she cooked my favourite meal and we read the I-Ching into the night. Marianne came from a time when women were raised to be muses and helpmates, which she was; she loved creative men and she was creative herself. Her life was not the easiest, but nothing seemed to dent her generosity and kindness. A truly beautiful soul."
ADDED: Did you ever want to be a muse (or to have one)? Here are "The 30 Most Famous Muses in Art." One of my favorite movies is about the woman who is #11 on that list.

19 comments:

Bob R said...

No Pattie Boyd!!? Who the hell is Justin Ray, and why does anyone pay him to write?

Sebastian said...

To answer AA's question: no, and no, thank G--.

"and she was creative herself." Not to derail a thread about the AA question, but here's another: are there any cases of famous muses who themselves did first-rate creative work, applying the standard generously?

And here's another: who's the top muse in history, in terms of maximizing creative output, above and beyond what the producers might have created otherwise? Alma might be the one to beat.

Ann Althouse said...

""and she was creative herself." Not to derail a thread about the AA question, but here's another: are there any cases of famous muses who themselves did first-rate creative work, applying the standard generously?"

Just from the list I linked to: Georgia O'Keefe.

Ann Althouse said...

Dora Maar.

robinintn said...

George Sand

Oso Negro said...

Yeah, I had one. She was from back in the day before girls spent all their time making selfies.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laslo Spatula said...

An Era where a Muse was acknowledged and appreciated.

No one wants to be a Muse anymore: everyone wants unassisted solo starlight.

Cohen's "The Future" is the pivot point to our Today.

I am Laslo.

William said...

Some of those girls look really tragic and maybe that's their appeal. Camille Claudel looks like she could take you to some dark places, but the game would be worth the candle......I like the whole concept of a fifteen year old Bridget Bardot, but such pursuits are more likely to end in prison than in great art........I think Picasso met a fair number of women who he claimed were muses. When you're Picasso, that's got to be a line with a high probability of success. He never got over with Sarah Murphy, but did some sketches of her. Fitzgerald had a crush on her and wrote a novel about her but also never got over. She was a chaste muse. I wonder which kind of muse inspires the greatest art.

Fritz said...

Once you have a magic negro, a muse is unnecessary.

William said...

I bet if someone like Bridget Bardot was Leonard Cohen's muse, he would write some sunnier songs--songs that could be sung by Doris Day. Nothing cheers a man up more than having sex with Bridget Bardot.

Stoutcat said...

"Alma, tell us; all modern women are jealous..."

https://youtu.be/zWFEy1lVUMI

CuznDon said...

Nice post, Ann. Another good reason to be on your mailing list.
Look up “Famous Blue Raincoat.” Jennifer Warnes did a great cover collection of Cohen’s tunes one of which my favorites is “First We Take Manhattan.”

rhhardin said...

I get him mixed up with Jacques Brel.

EDH said...

Marianne came from a time when women were raised to be muses and helpmates, which she was; she loved creative men and she was creative herself. Her life was not the easiest, but nothing seemed to dent her generosity and kindness. A truly beautiful soul.

Marianne was a muse.

Any surprise... Ginger doesn't even make the final three
?

Traci Talbot said...

To be a true muse, one needs a lot of spare time and an independent income, both of which are in pretty short supply these days.
A great artist is a great artist, but some need to feed their fantasies, usually there is no harm in this, and a good deal of benefit.

mikee said...

Traci, there are famous muses who were, well, prostitutes. They had neither an independent income nor lots of spare time, and worked as models for artists back when being nude for money was not a socially acceptable occupation.

Some are famous also for being lovers of the artists for whom they modeled, which says a lot about the balance between greed and sexuality and self respect among all involved.

Muses, like clothes, are available for any budget, any schedule, any lifestyle.

EMyrt said...

"Alma, tell us
How can they help being jealous?
Ducks always envy the swans
who get Gustav and Walter and Franz."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWFEy1lVUMI


EMyrt said...

Also Patti Smith was muse for Allen Lanier, keyboardist for the Blue Oyster Cult (Patti wrote lyrics, too), and for the recently deceased Sandy Pearlman, lyricist and producer for BOC.