Monday, July 16, 2012

Exploring Montparnasse Cemetery















I'm a fan of cemeteries.  As a genealogist I have spent many an hour photographing tombstones that were hidden behind trees and under moss.  Each nationality and ethnicity has unique features that define their cemeteries.  Not surprisingly in France there are many tombstones with considerable artistry.

The conference began yesterday, but first we decided to spend the morning at an art fair in Montparnasse.  Along the way we passed Montparnasse cemetery and were quickly diverted. We had explored the well-known Pere Lachaise Cemetery on past trips, visiting the graves of Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde, and we knew that treasures can lurk within.

Montparnasse has many artists and literary figures buried in the cemetery.  From Jeanne Paul Sartre and Simone de Bouvier to Brancusi, Brasaii and Man Ray, there is no shortage of well known names.  They are marked on a map at the entrance which one would think would make them easy to find.  We searched for specific tombstones to no avail and finally contented ourselves with identifying those that were visually interesting.  We found sculptors had particularly interesting tombstones as most had a piece of their sculpture adorning their grave.  On the left is the one from Henri Laurens on his own grave.. On the right is a sculpture by Niki de Saint Phalle. 


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