On the 23rd of October 2010, at almost a hundred years of age, sculptor and dancer Emma de Sigaldi passed away. She was born near Lackner in 1910, Karlsruhe. As a girl, Olga Mertens-Leger, Eugenie Eduardowa and Tatjana Gsovsky awarded her the funding for a classical education as a dancer.
Afterwards, she was taught in performative dance by the legendary Mary Wigman. Aged 15, she was hired by the Munich head of ballet Heinrich Kröller. In the 1920s and 1930s, she starred as the lead dancer at the Munich National Theatre and solo dancer at the Badense National Theatre Karlsruhe and at the Königsberg Theatre.
Her life took a decisive turn when she met the Monegasque Count de Sigaldi in Baden-Baden. They married and relocated to Monaco in 1954. Here on GoSee, the very personal farewell by her granddaughter Calypso de Sigaldi:
“I am not only talking about a very talented artist, but first and foremost about a woman who lived through the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century with her own personal, artistic vision. She paved the way for many women, who were fighting for more equality in the sexist world of sculpture.”
Whenever I speak of her, I always refer to her as grandmother, knowing very well that Emma was the second wife of my grandfather, whom he married long before I was born. She herself would refer to her works of marble and bronze as her children, through which she continues to exist.
Emma de Sigaldi will not be able to celebrate her hundredth birthday; she passed away on the evening of the 23rd of October 2010.
I will always remember her power and the role model she has been to so many. It was with this very power that she never ceased to cast her forms into the blocks of marble.
Her worldly wisdom influence my actions and judgement to this day.
The manner in which she taught me to capture the idea behind her work. Or the desire to please only herself, which she always carried within her, but it was only ignited by her true love, dancing.
Even at an old age, she showed a great interest in foreign cultures. Her insatiable passion to travel made it apparent to her, that life is too short to see and learn everything there is to see and learn.
She said: “Artists have no age! And do not decay.”
The work she leaves behind is a testimony for that. Thanks to her, the Monegasque art not only finds its place in Monaco, like the ‘Le Plongeur’ sculpture, but in other places as well, such as the ‘Relayeuses’ in Seoul.
She finally reached an age where one was happy to besiege her with adoration and honours, which she – probably like every artist – enjoyed immensely. The last city to offer her a token of honour was St. Petersburg in 2007.
She had many admirers, ranging from Japan to the United States of America. Her works will not only continue to mesmerise us but upcoming generations as well. She was a visionary without a doubt, a unique personality, standing by her beliefs.
It would be impolite for me to pen a bland homage full of self-pity without taking note of her art. Her whole being was a piece of art which continues to breathe for her.
No doubt, for an artist, there is no decay."
Calypso de Sigaldi
Rédactrice en chef du magazine