8.12.10

Montmartre Cemetery - some ladies

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.

28 comments:

Vagabonde said...

Bonjour Peter – j’ai voyagé un peu et suis en retard. Mais je viens de regarder tous tes posts depuis le 12 Novembre – que de belles photos! I enjoyed looking at your store window photos. When I was little I waited anxiously for my mother to take me to look at the windows des grands magasins à Noël – so many lights and toys!

I have read your posts on the cimetière de Montmartre with great interest – your explain so much. I did not know that so many greats were buried there. I’ll try to visit it when I am in Paris next spring, and I’ll print your little map for sure. Thanks for these excellent posts. Your top photo du cimetière sous la neige a beaucoup d’expression - neige et cimetière vont bien ensemble.

Shionge said...

You must have done some research there, thank you :D

Simony said...

Sad story but nice picture of the cemetery with snow!
Temperature here is around -11C, but with the wind chill it's -20C.
I can't stand it!!!

V Rakesh said...

I like this series very much! Quite unique!

Scheherazade said...

Enjoyed La Passion de Jeanne D'Arc. Very unusual clip. And I also enjoyed the photo of the cemetery with its dusting of snow.

Mystica said...

Thank you!

Olivier said...

j'adore la première photo, ce cimetière sous la neige, cela inspire encore plus a la contemplation

Owen said...

I'm wondering who is enjoying this fascinating series most... you, or your readers ?

If this were a school project and I were a teacher you'd get an A+. Or should I say "20" ?
:-)

claude said...

Ce cimetière est un monument historique à lui tout seul.

SusuPetal said...

I really enjoy your cemetery posts, thanks a lot.

We have so much snow in Helsinki!!!

hpy said...

Si l'hiver continue à être aussi neigeux nous serons bientôt tous enterrés sous une épaisse couche de neige.

Alba said...

Je viens de parcourir votre blog avec plaisir. Je reviendrai.

Je peux vous écrire en anglais, il me semble.

Belle journée.

Maddalena said...

It is hard to say a word after watching "The Passion of Joan of Arc" you offered and after listening Lili Boulanger's last composition. Your picture of Montmartre Cementary lightly dusted with snow gives an overal sense of harmony, which, combined with the rest of your post, makes me feel truly satisfied. Thank you.

lyliane said...

Ils ne sont pas gais tes posts, ça doit être la saison.
Je pars le 17 en Inde.
Passe de bonnes fêtes, à l'année prochaine.
grosses bises

Cergie said...

Ce cimetière, tu y vas et tu y revas... Comme la neige qui s'en vient, s'en va et s'en revient...
Samedi AM, depuis le RERA, j'ai jeté un oeil sur les tombes du cimetière d'Achères, elles m'ont inspiré l'idée qu'elles semblaient des mille feuilles saupoudrés de sucre glace.

Cergie said...

(Il est vrai qu'il n'y a sans doute pas des célébrités des temps jadis au cimetière d'Achères. Les célébrités même sont réduites à n'occuper qu'une place réduite...)

caterpillar said...

The way you explain about each person is amazing....

Olga said...

Hi Peter! You made me feel so good reading this wonderful post. I'm a huge admirer of Netrebko.

~Sarafina~ said...

When I finally get to Paris (someday!!) I plan on spending many hours in this gorgeous cemetary. I LOVE this series of posts!!!

Studio at the Farm said...

Peter, thank you so much for this truly fascinating post!

Starman said...

Another outstanding post.

Catherine said...

Moi je ne les trouve pas triste les cimetières. Les tombes font perdurer la notoriété des disparus, surtout quand quelqu'un comme toi s'en mèle et nous raconte. J'ajouterais au commentaire d'Owen, une mention spéciale pour les recherches sur Marie Taglioni. Donc A+ "mention bien". "Vous pouvez tenter d'obtenir la "mention très bien". Continuez vos efforts, élève Olson".

A la Sainte Immaculée,
d'assise, La Récamier,
s'est retrouvée allongée

Ben oui ! Comme tout le monde...

mauropucci said...

Nel tuo Blog c'è sempre molto da imparare.
Buona giornata Peter!

Ash said...

Interesting post and ladies!

lasiate said...

la neige !! quelle belle parure d'hermine pour ces dames du temps passé

Trotter said...

That Dreyer movie is fabulous!!

joanny said...

Peter:

You know I love your photography, your attention to detail, and keen eye for beauty and interest, but this series of Montmartre Cemetery has been extra-ordinary in my opinion. I can go on ,however, a photography book on famous cemeteries this would be the most outstanding one of all.

joanny

Note as a rule cemeteries are not my thing I figure I will be there soon enough... however I will re-visit this series for there is so much here and each story of every person is worthy of looking them up and reading more about their lives.

Nathalie said...

Tu es courageux d'aller faire les cimetières sous la neige ! Tu vas attraper la mort !
(just joking, couldn't help myself)