No better time than International Women’s Day to celebrate some of the remarkable women buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery: Listed by those tombs featured in the City of Immortals tours.
Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (January 28, 1873–August 3, 1954). Colette was one of the leading literary figures in France and the author of dozens of books, such as Chéri, La Naissance du Jour, and Gigi, which was made into a film starring Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jordan, and Leslie Caron.
Rosa Bonheur (March 16, 1822–May 25, 1899). Bonheur was the most famous woman painter of the 19th century and the first renowned painter of animals; one of her best-known works, The Horse Fair, hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Bonheur lived with a lifelong friend Natalie Micas, and later Anna Klumke, her life partner. The three are buried together in a plot Bonheur purchased in Père Lachaise.
Jeanne Hébuterne (April 6, 1898 –January 25,1920) was a French artist, best known as the frequent subject and common-law wife of the artist Amedeo “Modi” Modigliani. Sadly, she took her own life on this day.
Hébuterne’s family had brought their daughter to their home after hearing that Modigliani had died, but the distraught Jeanne threw herself out of the fifth-floor apartment window, killing herself and her unborn child.
Legendary filmmaker Georges Méliès (December 8, 1861–January 21, 1938) said shortly before he passed away on this day, and after he had drawn a champagne bottle with the cork popped and bubbling over and shown it to his friends: “Laugh, my friends. Laugh with me, laugh for me, because I dream your dreams.” (more…)
French artist Jacques-Louis David (August 30, 1748–December 29, 1825) died on this day at age 77 in Brussels, Belgium. Considered the preeminent painter of his time and best known for his Neoclassical style, he was awarded the Prix de Rome in 1774; was elected to the Académie Royale in 1784; was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur in 1803; promoted to Officier in 1808; and in 1815 he was promoted to Commandant (now Commandeur) de la Légion d’honneur. (more…)
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde died this day November 30, 1900 at age 46 in Paris, France. The tomb of this brilliant essayist, eminent playwright, poet, and society wit in Père Lachaise Cemetery was designed by American sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein. Throughout the 1990s, the tomb became covered in lipstick kisses that were slowly destroying the porous limestone with each cleaning. The French and Irish governments came together and created a fund to restore the tomb, which is now behind a protective Plexiglas casing. (more…)