Vera de Bosset

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Vera de Bosset by Serge Sudeikin

Vera de Bosset Stravinsky (January 7, 1889[1] – September 17, 1982) was a Russian-born American dancer and artist. She is better known as the mistress and, ultimately, second wife of the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, who married her in 1940.


Vera de Bosset was born Vera Bosse, the daughter of Eduard Bosse (* 19. October 1854 in Saese by Tamsal; † 27. jun 1927 in Riga)[2] and Hedwig von Ruckteschel (* 24. April 1866 in Kiew; † 17. April 1938 in Riga).[3] Both parents were Baltic German nobility.[4] She was sent to boarding school in Moscow, where she learned how to play piano.[5] Vera allegedly changed her name to the French "Bosset" to hide her German ancestry. She was the only one of her family to do so.

Stravinsky met Vera in 1921. She was a dancer and the wife of the painter and stage designer Serge Sudeikin. Stravinsky was then married to his cousin Katerina Nossenko and had four children. Stravinsky and Vera began an affair which led to her leaving her husband. From then until the death of Katerina from tuberculosis in March 1939, Stravinsky led a double life, spending most of his time with his wife and children and the rest with Vera. Katerina reportedly bore her husband's infidelity "with a mixture of magnanimity, bitterness, and compassion".[6]

In September 1939, Stravinsky arrived in America to give the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Vera followed in January 1940; they were married in Bedford, Massachusetts on March 9.[7]

After Stravinsky's death (1971) Vera lived on in the New York apartment they had bought shortly before his death. She died in 1982 and is buried with Stravinsky in Venice's Isola di San Michele cemetery.

Her survivors include nephews, nieces and more remote relatives, who live in Europe, the United States and Chile.

See also[edit]


  • Stravinsky: Chronicle of a Friendship, Craft, Robert, Nashville, Vanderbilt University Press. 1994. ISBN 0-8265-1258-5
  • von Ruckteschell Family papers, taken care of by Georg Bosse, Kentucky, USA.
  1. ^ In "Stravinsky: Discoveries and Memories" (Craft, Robert, Naxos Books, 2013, ISBN 978-1-84379-753-1, p. 154), Robert Craft recalls that "after an emotionally and physically exhausting day...Vera abruptly announced that she could not keep up, and that she was four years older than the dates on her passport." This would mean her true birth date was 1/7/1885, and her age at death 97.
  2. ^ Die Nachkommen des Kantors, Schulmeisters und Hilfspredigers an der St. Petri-Gemeinde in St. Petersburg Sebastian Bosse (1697-1775), in: Baltische Ahnen- und Stammtafeln Sonderheft 12 (Köln 1976), p. 10
  3. ^ GHdBR (NF) Band II (2012) ISSN 2193-164X, p. 338
  4. ^ However, in Craft 2013, p. 154, Robert Craft describes Vera as being born "to a French father and Swedish mother, neither with any Russian blood."
  5. ^ "BBC - Radio 3 - Classical/Tchaikovsky & Stravinsky/A-Z. Letter V for Vera Stravinsky". Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  6. ^ Joseph, Charles M.. 2001. Stravinsky Inside Out. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-07537-3.
  7. ^ White, Eric Walter in "Stravinsky, Igor (Fyodorovich)" in New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, The. (London: Macmillan, 1985), vol. 18, p.254.