Black and white portrait photograph of a man with unruly white hair (reminiscent of Albert Einstein's) and a white mustache, wearing a dark diamond point bow tie, mid-tone jacket with notched and hemmed shawl-style lapel, and on his chest, a square pocket watch attached to the vest with a short chain. Edvard Grieg (photographer unknown)

Solveig … from an old Norse name, which was derived from the elements sól (sun) and veig (strength).
This is the name of the heroine in Henrik Ibsen’s play Peer Gynt (1876).


The first time the Female discovered the name, she was barely 17. The Youth Theater Society, a sponsor of the Lucerne Theater, was offering unsold tickets to teens for a fraction of their ordinary price, and my female was addicted to music, ballet, and spoken words. While an apprentice in photography, which in those times was still considered a serious craft, she sought solace in the theatrical arts.

At least once a week, at four o’clock in the afternoon, she stood by at the theater’s ticket counter, hoping to secure for herself a two-bucks seat for whatever was available: ShakespeareIonescoBeckett, the “maestro of failure;”—you name it. One of the first plays for which she was able to grab a ticket, was Peer Gynt. A fascinating story of an insecure dreamer traveling the World, leaving behind a fate woman, to find her again at the end of his existence.

Sepia-toned black and white portrait photograph of a man with unruly hair (even more reminiscent of Albert Einstein's) and a square white beard spreading out from the cheeks and below the chin. He is wearing oval, wire-framed glasses and a dark jacket.Henrik Ibsen (photographer unknown)

Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) wrote his five-act allegorical drama in 1867 while living in Italy. It tells the story of the downfall and subsequent redemption of a Norwegian peasant anti-hero; lazy, indulgent, and impetuous. In 1874, Ibsen asked Edvard Grieg, whom he had met years earlier in Italy, to compose the music for the play. Grieg struggled to lend sound to the difficult words, yet finally the oeuvre was completed and premiered, conducted by Grieg on February 24, 1876 in Kristiania (now Oslo). Grieg’s melodies accentuated the Norwegian mood of the play, becoming some of the most popular tunes ever.

Grieg’s Peer Gynt compositions

Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 and Peer Gynt Suite No. 2, Op. 55 still take my female into a lovely world of sunrise, birdsongs, death, seduction, mystique, and the beautiful sad sound of Solveig’s Song, a piece she likes to dance to in a modern interpretation performed by the group Panta Rhei.

Solveig comes to Ithaca

The first real Solveig my humans met was in Ithaca, New York when my Wolfman was a student at Cornell.

Color portrait of a Bernese Mountain Dog head to head next to a man, who has his right arm wrapped around it's shoulders and his hand petting it's muzzle. The man has curly brown hair and wears a gray, knitted, warm sweater over a beige polo neck.Rigi & the Wolfman – Photograph © 1983 by Mignon Naegeli

My humans befriended an Icelandic couple. The women became close friends. My Female learned to knit cozy sweaters for Wolfman to survive the upstate freezing winters.

Image of a long oval wicker basket with looped carrying handles.

When pregnant with their second child, Unnur and her husband returned to Reykjavik for a fortnight to give birth to her daughter. The Female picked them up at Syracuse Airport and met seven-day-old Solveig, gently tucked in a wicker basket.

Present day

Another Solveig was born: Adriana Solveig. A beautiful Frischling human, the one I can’t wait for to sniff her delicious smell, hear her delightful sounds, see her first glimpse when she captures my wimpy self and bursts into a smile.


These Words of Basquiat are dedicated to Adriana Solveig
Black and white sepia toned photograph of a baby's head.  Photograph © 2016 by Mignon Naegeli

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