Archive for Père Lachaise Cemetery

Honoré de Balzac

Posted in Père Lachaise Cemetery with tags , on April 2, 2014 by Cade

balzac1May 20, 1799 – August 18, 1850

A noted pioneer of the Realist movement in European literature, Honoré de Balzac was a highly influential novelist and playwright. Balzac’s work was known for its flawed characters and minute detail that outlined life in his native France (specifically, Paris) in the time after Napoleon. The energy that drove his characters and stories wasn’t just creation. The man, himself, lived life at a torrid pace. Many of his finished novels and plays are the result of meticulous – borderline obsessive – revision and gallons upon gallons of coffee. Continue reading

Georges Seurat

Posted in Père Lachaise Cemetery with tags , on December 17, 2013 by Cade

seurat1December 2, 1859 – March 29, 1891

The father of the post-impressionist movement known as “pointilism”, Georges-Pierre Seurat is one of the most recognizable French impressionist painters. His masterworks like A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884–1886) and Bathers at Asnières (1883) stand as monuments to the late 19th century French collection as much as any Monet or Cézanne piece. His direct impact on the world of art was confined to a mere 31 years. Seurat died at that age of undisclosed causes in Paris. Continue reading

Oscar Wilde

Posted in Père Lachaise Cemetery with tags , on October 26, 2013 by Cade

wilde1October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900

Ever hear the term “The Gay Nineties”? Well, the British counterpart to the American decade of decadence at the end of the 19th century was deemed the “Naughty Nineties.”

Enter Oscar Wilde.

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish-born (you don’t say?) writer who was known for his wit and flamboyant personality. His literary masterworks include his lone novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray and his most famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest. But enough of the boring stuff…Wilde spent the first half of the so-called “Naughty Nineties” in London embroiled in an affair with Lord Alfred Douglas. A fact the Douglas family was none too thrilled about. Wilde was publicly outed – practicing homosexuality was illegal at the time – and sentenced to 2 years of hard labor in prison. Prison life vastly disagreed with Wilde’s sense of aesthetics and art and all things opulent and his health rapidly declined. Continue reading

Édith Piaf

Posted in Père Lachaise Cemetery with tags , on June 13, 2013 by Cade

piaf1

December 19, 1915 – October 11, 1963

“Every damn fool thing you do in this life, you pay for.” – Édith Piaf

Édith Giovanna Gassion was raised in a brothel in Normandy, France. Things got better from there…slowly.  She joined her father as a street peformer at the age of 14 and began singing for money on the outskirts of Paris. She fell in love, continued to sing on the streets and had a daughter. She was a terrible mother. Her daughter died at the age of 2 in the hotel where they were living.  It gets better, it really does. At the age of 19, Édith was discovered by a Paris nightclub owner and began singing “professionally” in said nightclub.  The owner, of course, was promptly murdered, but not before Édith was able to record a couple of songs and begin making decisions for herself. Under new management, she began performing as Édith Piaf (piaf means “sparrow” in case you were wondering) and eventually went on to become one of France’s greatest performers. Continue reading

Jim Morrison

Posted in Père Lachaise Cemetery with tags , , , on March 5, 2013 by Cade

morrison1

December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971

James Douglas Morrison, AKA “The Lizard King,” was a poet, songwriter and the lead singer of the influential American rock band, The Doors. Energetic, soulful and wild, he set the showmanship standard for many future frontmen.

And he LOOOOVED heroin.

Continue reading