Author(s): Eileen Chanin
Ibsen's A Doll's House opened in Melbourne on 14 September 1889. The slam of the door as Nora left her husband echoed in the minds of thousands of young Australian women. This book is about four of these women, each of whom became an international pioneer in the arts. Dora Ohlfsen and her lover Countess Helena Kuelgegen were found gassed in their Rome apartment in 1948. Dora was a celebrated sculptor who, with the support of Mussolini, became the only non-Italian entrusted with a national war memorial. Louise Hanson-Dyer, through her Paris-based company Les Editions de L'Oiseau-Lyre, laid the foundations of the modern early music revival and helped shape the notion of 'authenticity' in musical performance. Mary Cecil Allen fled the security of Melbourne establishment for a bohemian life in New York. Her books on contemporary art became standard texts. Clarice Zander became the first press officer for the Royal Academy, curated the most important exhibition of contemporary British art held in Australia (1933), and pioneered the modern marketing of art. The experiences common to these four women make this book a portrait of an age.
It is based entirely on new research and on primary material only recently available.