Born: January 7, 1899, Paris, France
Died: January 30, 1963, Paris, France
Spouse: Richard Chanlaire (m. ?–1923)
Education: Lycée Condorcet
Parents: Émile Poulenc, Jenny Poulenc
Buried: Cimetière du Père Lachaise, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France, Plot: Division 5
Vast tree-lined burial site with famous names including Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison & Maria Callas.
Address: 16 Rue du Repos, 75020 Paris, France (48.86139, 2.39332)
Type: Cemetery (open to public)
Hours: Monday through Friday 8.00-18.00, Saturday 8.30-18.00, Sunday 9.00-18.00
Phone: +33 1 55 25 82 10
Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in the city of Paris (44 hectares or 110 acres), though there are larger cemeteries in the city’s suburbs. Père Lachaise is in the 20th arrondissement and is notable for being the first garden cemetery, as well as the first municipal cemetery. It is also the site of three WWI memorials. The cemetery is on Boulevard de Ménilmontant. The Paris Métro station Philippe Auguste on line 2 is next to the main entrance, while the station called Père Lachaise, on both lines 2 and 3, is 500 metres away near a side entrance that has been closed to the public. Many tourists prefer the Gambetta station on line 3, as it allows them to enter near the tomb of Oscar Wilde and then walk downhill to visit the rest of the cemetery. Père Lachaise Cemetery was opened on May 21, 1804. The first person buried there was a five-year-old girl named Adélaïde Paillard de Villeneuve, the daughter of a door bell-boy of the Faubourg St. Antoine. Her grave no longer exists as the plot was a temporary concession. Napoleon, who had been proclaimed Emperor by the Senate three days earlier, had declared during the Consulate that "Every citizen has the right to be buried regardless of race or religion.”
Notable queer burials at Père Lachaise:
• Louise Abbéma (1853-1927) was a French painter, sculptor, and designer of the Belle Époque. She first received recognition for her work at age 23 when she painted a portrait of Sarah Bernhardt, her lifelong friend and possibly her lover.
• Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) was a French stage and early film actress.
• Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899), Nathalie Micas (1824-1889) and Anna Elizabeth Klumpke (1856-1942), buried together.
• Jean Börlin (1893-1930) was a Swedish dancer and choreographer born in Härnösand. He worked with Michel Fokine, who was his teacher in Stockholm. Jean Borlin was a principal dancer of the Royal Swedish Ballet when Rolf de Mare brought him to Paris in in 1920 as first dancer and choreographer of the Ballets Suedois at the Theatre de Champs-Elysees. According to Paul Colin, de Mare “was very rich” and he had brought the Swedish Ballet to Paris “especially to show his young lover, Jean Borlin.” The Stockholm press derided de Mare's sexual orientation. In contrast, open-minded Paris welcomed the Ballets Suedois. One wonders what might have happened if de Mare had not disbanded the company in 1925, reportedly because its recent performances had disappointed him. But he had a new lover. Borlin's last years were melancholy. By 1925, he was exhausted: he had choreographed all 23 ballets in his company's repertory and danced in each of its 900 performances -- a grueling schedule that led him to alcohol and drugs. In 1930, he opened a school in New York but died of heart failure shortly thereafter. He was only 37. He was buried at his own wish in the cemetery of Pére Lachaise in Paris in January l931. A stricken de Mare founded Les Archives Internationales de Danse, in his memory.
• Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès (1753-1824) 1st Duke of Parma, later 1st Duke of Cambacérès, was a French lawyer and statesman during the French Revolution and the First Empire, best remembered as the author of the Napoleonic Code, which still forms the basis of French civil law and inspired civil law in many countries. The common belief that Cambacérès is responsible for decriminalizing homosexuality in France is in error. Cambacérès was not responsible for ending the legal prosecution of homosexuals. He did play a key role in drafting the Code Napoléon, but this was a civil law code. He had nothing to do with the Penal Code of 1810, which covered sexual crimes. Before the French Revolution, sodomy had been a capital crime under royal legislation. The penalty was burning at the stake. Very few men, however, were ever actually prosecuted and executed for consensual sodomy (no more than five in the entire XVIII century). Sodomites arrested by the police were more usually released with a warning or held in prison for (at most) a few weeks or months. The National Constituent Assembly abolished the law against sodomy when it revised French criminal law in 1791 and got rid of a variety of offenses inspired by religion, including blasphemy. Cambacérès was a homosexual, his sexual orientation was well-known, and he does not seem to have made any effort to conceal it. He remained unmarried, and kept to the company of other bachelors. Napoleon is recorded as making a number of jokes on the subject. Robert Badinter once mentioned in a speech to the French National Assembly, during debates on reforming the homosexual age of consent, that Cambacérès was known in the gardens of the Palais-Royal as "tante Turlurette".
• Colette (Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, 1873-1954) was a French novelist nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. She embarked on a relationship with Mathilde de Morny, Marquise de Belbeuf ("Missy"), with whom she sometimes shared the stage.
• Alphonse Daudet (1840–1897) was a French novelist. He was the husband of Julia Daudet and father of Edmée Daudet, and writers Léon Daudet and Lucien Daudet. Cultivated, “very beautiful, very elegant, a thin and frail young man, with a tender and a somewhat effeminate face”, according to Jean-Yves Tadié, Lucien Daudet lived a fashionable life which made him meet Marcel Proust. They shared at least a friendship (if not a sexual relationship), which was revealed by Jean Lorrain in his chronicle in the Journal. It is for this indiscretion that Proust and Lorrain fought a duel in 1897. Daudet was also friends with Jean Cocteau.
• Isadora Duncan (1877-1927) was an American dancer. Bisexual she had a daughter by theatre designer Gordon Craig, and a son by Paris Singer, one of the many sons of sewing machine magnate Isaac Singer. She had relationships with Eleonara Duse and Mercedes de Acosta. She married the Russian bisexual poet Sergei Yesenin, who was 18 years her junior.
• Joseph Fiévée (1767-1839) was a French journalist, novelist, essayist, playwright, civil servant (haut fonctionnaire) and secret agent. Joseph Fiévée married in 1790 (his brother-in-law was Charles Frédéric Perlet), but his wife died giving birth, leaving him one child. At the end of the 1790s, he met the writer Théodore Leclercq who became his life companion, and the two would live and raise Fiévée’s son together. When becoming Préfet, Fiévée and Leclercq moved to the Nièvre department, and their open relationship greatly shocked some locals. The two men were received together in the salons of the Restoration. Both men are buried in the same tomb at Père Lachaise Cemetery.
• Loie Fuller (1862–1928) was an American dancer who was a pioneer of both modern dance and theatrical lighting techniques. Fuller supported other pioneering performers, such as fellow United States-born dancer Isadora Duncan. Fuller helped Duncan ignite her European career in 1902 by sponsoring independent concerts in Vienna and Budapest. She was cremated and her ashes are interred in the columbarium at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Her sister, Mollie Fuller, had a long career as an actress and vaudeville performer.
• Anne-Louis Girodet (1767-1824) was a French painter and pupil of Jacques-Louis David, who was part of the beginning of the Romantic movement by adding elements of eroticism through his paintings. According to the scholar Diana Knight, over the years Girodet’s homosexuality became widely known.
• Eileen Gray (1878–1976) was an Irish furniture designer and architect and a pioneer of the Modern Movement in architecture. Gray was bisexual. She mixed in the lesbian circles of the time, being associated with Romaine Brooks, Gabrielle Bloch, Loie Fuller, the singer Damia and Natalie Barney. Gray's intermittent relationship with Damia (or Marie-Louise Damien) ended in 1938, after which they never saw each other again, although both lived into their nineties in the same city. Damia died at La Celle-Saint-Cloud, a western suburb of Paris, and was interred in the Cimetière de Pantin (163 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 93500 Aubervilliers, France). Today, she is considered to be the third greatest singer of chansons réalistes, after Edith Piaf and Barbara.
• Reynaldo Hahn (1874-1947) was a Venezuelan, naturalised French, composer, conductor, music critic, diarist, theatre director, and salon singer.
• Harry Graf Kessler (1868-1937) was an Anglo-German count, diplomat, writer, and patron of modern art. In his introduction to “Berlin Lights” (2000) Ian Buruma asserted Kessler was homosexual and struggled his whole life to conceal it.
• Boris Yevgen'yevich Kochno (1904-1990), was hired as the personal secretary to Serge Diaghilev, the impresario of the famed Ballets Russes. He served in this capacity until Diaghilev's death in 1929. In addition to his other duties, he also wrote several ballet libretti for the troupe. He died in 1990 in Paris following a fall. He was buried next to Wladimir Augenblick who died in 2001.
• Marie Laurencin (1883-1956) was a French painter and printmaker. She became an important figure in the Parisian avant-garde as a member of the Cubists associated with the Section d'Or. She became romantically involved with the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, and has often been identified as his muse. In addition, Laurencin had important connections to the salon of the American expatriate and famed lesbian writer Natalie Clifford Barney. She had heterosexual and lesbian affairs. During WWI, Laurencin left France for exile in Spain with her German-born husband, Baron Otto von Waëtjen, since through her marriage she had automatically lost her French citizenship. The couple subsequently lived together briefly in Düsseldorf. After they divorced in 1920, she returned to Paris, where she achieved financial success as an artist until the economic depression of the 1930s. During the 1930s she worked as an art instructor at a private school. She lived in Paris until her death.
• Mary Elizabeth Clarke Mohl (1793–1883) was a British writer who was known as a salon hostess in Paris. She was known by her nickname of "Clarkey". She was admired for her independence and conversation. She eventually married the orientalist Julius von Mohl. She was an ardent Francophile, a feminist, and a close friend of Florence Nightingale. She wrote about her interest in the history of women's rights. She was buried with her husband, Julius von Mohl, at Père Lachaise Cemetery (56th division).
• Mathilde (Missy) de Morny (1863-1944), a French noblewoman, artist and transgender figure, she became a lover of several women in Paris, including Liane de Pougy and Colette.
• Francis Poulenc (1899–1963) was a French composer and pianist. The biographer Richard D. E. Burton comments that, in the late 1920s, Poulenc might have seemed to be in an enviable position: professionally successful and independently well-off, having inherited a substantial fortune from his father. He bought a large country house, Le Grande Coteau (Chemin Francis Poulenc, 37210 Noizay, France), 140 miles (230 km) south-west of Paris, where he retreated to compose in peaceful surroundings. Yet he was troubled, struggling to come to terms with his sexuality, which was predominantly gay. His first serious affair was with the painter Richard Chanlaire, to whom he sent a copy of the Concert champêtre score inscribed, "You have changed my life, you are the sunshine of my thirty years, a reason for living and working". Nevertheless, while this affair was in progress Poulenc proposed marriage to his friend Raymonde Linossier. As she was not only well aware of his homosexuality but was also romantically attached elsewhere, she refused him, and their relationship became strained. He suffered the first of many periods of depression, which affected his ability to compose, and he was devastated in January 1930, when Linossier died suddenly at the age of 32. On her death he wrote, "All my youth departs with her, all that part of my life that belonged only to her. I sob ... I am now twenty years older". His affair with Chanlaire petered out in 1931, though they remained lifelong friends. On 30 January 1963, at his flat opposite the Jardin du Luxembourg, Poulenc suffered a fatal heart attack. His funeral was at the nearby church of Saint-Sulpice. In compliance with his wishes, none of his music was performed; Marcel Dupré played works by Bach on the grand organ of the church. Poulenc was buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery, alongside his family.
• Marcel Proust (1871-1922) was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for his monumental novel “À la recherche du temps perdu” (In Search of Lost Time), published in seven parts between 1913 and 1927. Also his friend and sometime lover, Reynaldo Hahn is buried here.
• Raymond Radiguet (1903–1923) was a French novelist and poet whose two novels were noted for their explicit themes, and unique style and tone. In early 1923, Radiguet published his first and most famous novel, “Le Diable au corps” (The Devil in the Flesh). The story of a young married woman who has an affair with a sixteen-year-old boy while her husband is away fighting at the front provoked scandal in a country that had just been through WWI. Though Radiguet denied it, it was established later that the story was in large part autobiographical. He associated himself with the Modernist set, befriending Picasso, Max Jacob, Jean Hugo, Juan Gris and especially Jean Cocteau, who became his mentor. Radiguet also had several well-documented relationships with women. An anecdote told by Ernest Hemingway has an enraged Cocteau charging Radiguet (known in the Parisian literary circles as "Monsieur Bébé" – Mister Baby) with decadence for his tryst with a model: "Bébé est vicieuse. Il aime les femmes." ("Baby is depraved. He likes women.") Radiguet, Hemingway implies, employed his sexuality to advance his career, being a writer "who knew how to make his career not only with his pen but with his pencil." Aldous Huxley is quoted as declaring that Radiguet had attained the literary control that others required a long career to reach. On December 12, 1923, Radiguet died at age 20 in Paris of typhoid fever, which he contracted after a trip he took with Cocteau. Cocteau, in an interview with The Paris Review stated that Radiguet had told him three days prior to his death that, "In three days, I am going to be shot by the soldiers of God." In reaction to this death Francis Poulenc wrote, "For two days I was unable to do anything, I was so stunned". In her 1932 memoir, “Laughing Torso,” British artist Nina Hamnett describes Radiguet's funeral: "The church was crowded with people. In the pew in front of us was the negro band from the Boeuf sur le Toit. Picasso was there, Brâncuși and so many celebrated people that I cannot remember their names. Radiguet's death was a terrible shock to everyone. Coco Chanel, the celebrated dressmaker, arranged the funeral. It was most wonderfully done. Cocteau was too ill to come." ... "Cocteau was terribly upset and could not see anyone for weeks afterwards.”
• Mlle Raucourt (1756-1815) was a French actress.
• Salomon James de Rothschild (1835–1864) was a French banker and socialite. He was the father of Baroness Hélène van Zuylen.
• Raymond Roussel (1877-1933) wrote and published some of his most important work between 1900 and 1914, and then from 1920 to 1921 traveled around the world. He continued to write for the next decade, but when his fortune finally gave out, he made his way to a hotel in Palermo, Grand Hotel Et Des Palmes (Via Roma, 398, 90139 Palermo), where he died of a barbiturate overdose in 1933, aged 56.
• Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) was an American writer of novels, poetry and plays. In 1933, Stein published a kind of memoir of her Paris years, “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas,” written in the voice of Toklas, her life partner. Alice B. Toklas (1877-1967) was an American-born member of the Parisian avant-garde of the early XX century. They are buried together.
• Pavel Tchelitchew (1898-1957), Russian-born surrealist painter. Loved by Edith Sitwell, he then in turn fell in love with Charles Henry Ford and moved with him in New York City.
• Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet.
Queer Places, Vol. 3 edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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