Monday, March 3, 2014

My Favorite Sculptures in Cimetière de Montmartre, Paris

Cemeteries in Paris are often amazing places to visit - not only it consists a pilgrimage to the resting spots of so many renown artists and thinkers, but a brief immersion of an sculptural Eden. 

Cimetière de Montmartre, not far from the fabled club Moulin Rouge, though less renown and less frequently visited than Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, was just as astonishing in its cultural and artistic richness. There were so many beautiful spots there I saw in my visit there more than five years ago, and much more I didn't have time and energy to see them all. Amongst what enchanted me during that brief visit, I choose these two below as my favorite sculptures I encountered there:

One was a bronze sculpture at the tomb of Otto Klaus Preis (1936-2003) in Avenue de la Croix, one of the most beautiful ancient quarries of Montmartre, featuring a man who overcomes a tombstone, created by Paul Landowsky (1875-1961), author of the Sainte-Genevieve du Pont de la Tournelle in Paris, and Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. The striding naked man was in full swing, aided by a sturdy stick, resolutely to overcome whatever was ahead of him.  It was full of vitality, and upon close examination, delicate beauty.  Quite a mixture yet harmoniously done.  This spot gave visitors reassurance more than anything else.

IMG__7840 - Otto Klaus Preis (1936-2003), Cimetière de Montmartre, Paris, 2008

My second favorite was the sculpture of Jean Bauchet (1906-1995), former director and performer (acrobat and singer) of Moulin Rouge, then owner of the club, Director of Casino de Paris and the Théâtre du Chatelet, creator of casinos in Lebanon and Morocco. Long before his death, he had this imposing Male Nude Bronze by Bernard Richard installed on his his grave spot.

Though I didn't care for all those fancy hats he wore, the sculpture itself impressed me deeply.  Everything about the sitter was monumental - huge bulk of body, huge head, strong limps, large hands and feet, in a pose reminiscent of Rodin's the Thinker, and that implied a huge personality and thinking mind.  If Monsieur Bauchet didn't become a most exalted artist during his life time, in his afterlife, his lookalike became a piece of true art.

IMG__7856 - Jean Bauchet (1906-1995), Moulin Rouge artist (acrobat and singer), and owner of Moulin Rouge, Director of Casino de Paris and the Théâtre du Chatelet, by Bernard Richard

My Favorite Museum Collection Series
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List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

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