A couple of days ago, this is what the Montmartre Cemetery looked like. Continuing the series of tombs, today I will talk about some remarkable ladies.
Juliette Récamier (1777-1849) is maybe best known for some famous paintings of her, including the one I photographed recently at the Louvre (by Jacques-Louis David), for her dresses, for the name of the sofa she is posing on and which got her name, and for having been the best friend of François-René Chateaubriand. But, she was definitely a society leader and in her “salon” she received and influenced a large number of the leading personalities during the politically complicated early 19th century. She married at the age of 15 to an old man who may have been her natural father, but he obviously also behaved as her father, wanting to make her his heir. She was beautiful, witted and obviously never involved in any “scandals”.
Renée Jeanne Falconetti (1892-1946) was the actress, who played the leading role in the famous silent film from 1928 by Carl Theodor Dreyer, “The Passion of Joan of Arc”. It seems that Dreyer’s way of directing her pushed to her emotional collapse and this was her (second and) last film.
The film is still considered as a “landmark” of cinema, as well for the direction as for Falconetti’s interpretation and has been named “the most influential film of all time” (2010 Toronto International Film Festival). The film has certainly inspired later Joan of Arc film interpretations, e.g. Ingrid Bergman (directed first by Victor Flemming and six years later by Roberto Rosselini), Jean Seberg (directed by Otto Preminger)…
Falconetti continued her career as stage actor and producer, escaped from France during WW II. She died in Argentina in 1946.
Two sisters are buried here. Nadia (1877-1979) and Lili (1893-1918) Boulanger, daughters to eminent musicians.
Nadia was the elder one. She composed in her early years, but she gave up early, when her, as she thought, much more talented younger sister died (see below). Her reputation is much more linked to teaching and conducting. She was the first woman to conduct e.g. the BBC Symphony, Boston Symphony, Hallé, New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia orchestras. She premiered some works including by Stravinsky. (You can see her and Stravinsky on a photo here.) She taught music mostly in Europe, but also in the US, at academies like the Paris Conservatory, Julliard School, Yehudi Menuhin School, Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of Music. Among her students you may mention Aaron Copland, Dinu Lipatti, Quincy Jones, Daniel Barenboim, John Eliot Gardiner, Georges Gershwin, Michel Legrand…
The younger sister, Lili, was a clear child prodigy and was the first woman to win the “Prix de Rome” at the age of 19. She suffered from illness most of her life and died of intestinal tuberculosis at the age of 24. She had already composed a lot and such different characters as Arthur Honneger and Herbie Hanckock have said to have admired and been influenced by her work. We can listen to “Pie Jesus” (sung by Anna Netrebko) which was written just before she died. An asteroid has been named in her honour.
Here is where you can find these tombs.