Gordigiani, Giulietta

BORN 17 May 1871, Firenze, Toscana - DIED 27 Feb 1957, Firenze, Toscana
GRAVE LOCATION Firenze, Toscana: Cimitero Monumentale delle Porte Sante (Gordigiani family tomb (number 44))

Giuletta Gordigliani was the daughter of the well known painter Michele Gordigliani. Her mother Gabriella CoujŔre was occupied with literature, theosophy and occultism. Her grandfather Luigi was a musician and a composer. As a child she studied singing and piano under Giuseppe Buonamici. She became a fine pianist and was famous for her beauty. But she was also irritable and unstable. The actress Eleonora Duse often visited their house and Giuletta accompanied her on her tours.

Around 1895 she started a musical career, but this was cut short by her marriage in 1898 to Robert von Mendelssohn in Berlin. They lived in style at Jńgerstrasse 51 and had three children. Eleonora Duse was the godmother of their daughter Eleonora. But Duse was also her husband's lover for many years. In 1906 Giulietta defended her friend Isadora Duncan who was banished by the aristocracy in Berlin because she was pregnant by Edward Gordon Graig.

When her husband died in 1917 she inherited a fortune and became a member of the Mendelssohn & Co bank. In 1923 she met the cellist Gaspar Cassad˛. He was 26 and she was 52, but she resumed her musical career and frequently accompanied him on the piano. They settled in Florence and there is no certainty about the nature of their relationship. In 1932 they performed in Barcelona and their last known performance was in 1940 in Milan.

In 1938 the bank was nationalised and she had financial problems as well as health problems. During the war she decided to sell her important paintings because she couldn't get them out of Germany. After the war the family was unable to claim them back like many other Jewish families, because she had been the formal owner and she had been classified as an Aryan. Her son Francesco stated later that she had given the pictures to him and his sister in 1932 and Albert Einstein supported his case, but the German authorities didn't buy it.

In 1951 Eleonara died under suspicious circumstances in New York. Giuletta lived the last part of her life in het villa in Striano and she died in 1957 in Florence.

• Father: Gordigiani, Michele
• Husband: Mendelssohn, Robert von (1898-1917, Berlin)

Related persons
• was a friend of D'Annunzio, Gabriele
• was a friend of Duncan, Isadora
• was a friend of Duse, Eleonora


The grave of Michele Gordigiani and Giulietta Gordigiani at the Cimitero Monumentale delle Porte Sante, Florence.
Picture by Androom (19 Feb 2018)


• Blubacher, Thomas, Gibt es etwas Sch÷neres als Sehnsucht?, Die Geschwister Eleonora und Francesco von Mendelssohn, Henschel Verlag, Leipzig, 2008
Firenze e Giulietta Gordigiani von Mendelssohn nella vita di Gaspar Cassad├│ | Gaspar Cassad├│ (1897-1966)
Giulietta Gordigiani - Wikipedia

Gordigiani, Michele

Published: 13 May 2018
Last update: 17 Jul 2023