Andreas-Salomé, Lou

BORN 22 Feb 1861, St. Petersburg - DIED 5 Feb 1937, Göttingen, Niedersachsen
BIRTH NAME Salomé, Louise von
GRAVE LOCATION Göttingen, Niedersachsen: Stadtfriedhof, Kasseler Landstrasse (Abteilung 68, 4 (Grab Friedrich Carl Andreas; ashes))

Louise Salomé's father Gustav Ludwig von Salomé (1807-1878) came from a Huguenot family and came to St. Petersburg with his family in 1810. His military career in Russia was uccesful and in 1831 he was enobled by czar Nicolas I. In 1844 he married Louise Wilm (1823-1913) from Germany. Louise von Salomé was born in 1861 as the youngest of their six children.

When Louise was sixteen years old she shocked her family by refusing her confirmation in the protestant church by Hermann Dalton. She left the church but became the pupil of another clergyman, Hendrik Gillot, who taught her philosophy and literature as well. She was the same age as Gillot's children, but he fell in love with her and wanted to marry her. She refused but they remained friends. They travelled to the Netherlands where he confirmed her in May 1880 under the name of Lou.

Her father had died in 1879 and she went to Zurich with her mother in he autumn of 1880. There she attended lectures at the university. A lung disease forced her to discontinue her studies and she went to Rome with her mother in 1882. In that city she became part of the circle of intellectuals around Malwida von Meysenbug. She met the philosopher Paul Rée, who fell in love with her and although she turned him down they became close friends. Nietzsche had already heard from her from his friend Rée when he arrived in Rome and soon asked for her hand as well. She didn't want to marry him either but she immediately accepted him as a friend and teacher. She suggested the three of them would live and study in Paris together, but this never happened. Nietzsche disappointedly left for Leipzig late in 1882 and they never met again.

She lived in Berlin with Rée as friends until 1885. She published her first book "Im Kampf um Gott" in 1885. In 1886 she met the orientalist Friedrich Carl Andreas, who was fifteen years her senior. After he tried to kill himself before her eyes she agreed to marry him on the condition that they would never have sexual relations. He agreed but their relation was difficult from the start because of her affairs with other men. Her husband was probably the father of the child of their housekeeper and Lou cared for the child after her mother had died prematurely.

She published "Friedrich Nietzsche in seinen Werken" in 1894 and further books followed. In Berlin she knew Gerhart Hauptmann, Frank Wedekind and many others. In 1897 she met the young Rainer Maria Rilke in Munich. They spent the summer together in Bavaria and he followed her to Berlin afterwards. He lived near her there and although she was in love with him as well she kept him at a certain distance. In 1899 and 1900 they travelled to Russia. Early in 1901 she ended their affair but they remained close friends until Rilke's death in 1926.

After her husband obtained a professorship in Göttingen in 1903 they lived there in separate parts of a house. Whenever she was in Göttingen she took care of the garden, but she was often travelling and mostly lived an independent life. In 1911 she met Freud in Sweden and spent half a year in Vienna in 1912/1913. Freud liked her very much although their relationship remained platonic. In 1915 she opened the first psychoanalysis practice of the city in her house in Göttingen. In 1921 she befriended Freud's daughter Anna.

Towards the end of her life her health detoriated. In 1930 she was in hospital for several weeks. Her husband was ill as well but he visited her daily. He died later that year from cancer. Lou suffered from cancer as well and was operated in 1935. She died in 1937 in Göttingen.

• Husband: Andreas, Friedrich Carl (1887-1930)

Related persons
• was pupil of Freud, Sigmund
• met Wedekind, Frank

24/7/1882First meeting between Elisabeth Nietzsche and Lou Andreas-Salomé 
28/7/1882Lou Andreas-Salomé attends a performance of Parsifal in Bayreuth 


The grave of Friedrich Carl Andreas and Lou Andreas-Salomé at the Stadtfriedhof, Göttingen.
Picture by Androom (25 Aug 2017)


Lou Andreas-Salomé – Wikipedia

Andreotti, Libero

Published: 23 Jun 2019
Last update: 21 Nov 2019