The last two times that I've taught in Paris, I've been very fortunate in renting an apartment just a few minutes south of the Cimitiere du Montparnasse. It isn't as spectacular as Pere Lachaise, but for a relatively small rectangle of land it contains the graves of dozens of interesting artists, politicians, historians, actors and actresses, and more. Some will be more well known to French people than foreigners, but in the course of quite a few walks across the cemetery during my recent trip, I either sought out or stumbled upon the following graves.
Piero Crommelynck, along with his brother Aldo, ran a printmaking atelier in Montparnasse for more than half a century. Clients included Braque, Picasso, Arp, Hockney, Salle, Dine. As I've mentioned several times on this blog, my etching teacher worked in their studio for a time in the 1980s. So only a small number of people in the world (the tiny world of the history of printmaking) might feel their heart leap when they find this grave -- but I'm one of them.
|Sartre and de Beauvoir|
I don't know why I like graveyards so much. Maybe it's because they are always an oasis of greenery in the most urban of neighbourhoods. There's no special aura or magic that emanates from these graves, or anything like that. But if recognizing a name causes us to think even for a minute about a painting they did, a book they wrote, or a moment from their life, I think it creates another small link in the chain of memories that keeps our civilization going.