After the smaller cimetière du Calvaire became overcrowded, the cimetière Saint-Vincent opened in 1831. One of three cemeteries in Montmartre, it holds 900 graves, making it second to the more renowned cimetière de Montmartre. However, its list of occupants is no less renowned and includes famed artists to film directors.
Marcel Carné was a key figure in the fatalistic poetic realist movement of the 1930s and his famous partnership with screenwriter Jaques Prevért created some of the decades most noteworthy films. Prevért and Carné’s most celebrated work was the Les Enfants du Paradis. Produced under Vichy control and released after the end of the war in 1945; many consider it to be France’s greatest film. As a result, many consider Carné to be one of the generations most influentialfilmmakers.
One of the few Montmartre artists to be born in the area, Utrillo’s parentage remains a mystery to this day. His mother, artist Suzanne Valadon believed it could have been Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Edgar Dagas or even Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The Spanish painter Miguel Utrillo, who wished to be compared alongside the greats, gave his name to the child. Encouraged by his mother to paint at 21, after a bought with mental illness, Utrillo’s cityscapes of his surrounding Montmartre would become internationally acclaimed by the 1920s. The French government gave Utrillo a Legion of Honour in 1928 for his paintings, which endure as some of Montmartre’s most defining representations.
Swiss born Art Neveau painter Théophile Steinlen moved to Montmartre in 1893. He established himself in the vibrant community of artists and was soon befriended by Adolphe Willete and became a regular at le Chat Noir. Aristide Bruant subsequently commissioned Steinlen to paint posters for the clubs’ events. Steinlen’s poster of the Tournée du Chat noir, is today a symbol of Paris, recognised the world over.
A sculptor and a noted fan of cats, in addition to producing poster art, Steinlen also painted hundreds of illustrations. However, he painted most of these later works, which illustrate the harsher Parisian life, under a pseudonym. Today, you can find Steinlen’s art at museums across the world.
Marcel Aymé was a prolific writer, essayist and playwright and used a rich language in his writing, from rural French to Parisian slang. However, critics and his intellectual peers were not fans of Aymés ironic style. Many considered extravagant creations, like the ‘The Man Who Walked Through Walls“, to deviate too far from the accepted norm. Aymés work was however subsequently reappraised after his death in 1967 and his stories are now considered to be classic pieces of magical realism.
Steinlen is not the only master poster designer in the cimetière Saint-Vincent. Jules Chéret was a painter and lithographer who many consider to be the father of the modern poster. Chéret was trained in lithography in London and later returned to his native Paris in the late 1860s. There he created vivid posters for the cabarets, music halls and theatres, which were thriving in the Belle Époque. As a result, his posters for the Moulin Rouge; Hippodrome, Olympia, Casino de Paris etc al, became some of the most iconic artwork of the period. The French government awarded Chéret the Légion d’honneurin 1890.