Claude Monet's remains 'to be moved to the Panthéon'
Eighty-four years after the artist's death, President Nicolas Sarkozy is considering whether to honour a promise made by his predecessor, and move the remains of the Impressionist painter to the Panthéon, the Independent reports.
Eleven years ago, former President Chirac promised Mr Wildenstein's father, Daniel Wildenstein – the leading expert on Monet – that he would have the painter's remains moved to the Panthéon.
The idea was dropped after the then-culture minister insisted Monet (1840-1926) should remain buried in Normandy in the village churchyard in Giverny, 60 miles west of Paris, close to his celebrated house and water lily garden.
But Mr Wildenstein Jr, told Mr Sarkozy that the Panthéon's claim to be the last resting place of the official Great and Good of France is undermined by one surprising omission: it contains no celebrated artist, and just one painter, the obscure neo-classicist Joseph-Marie Vien (1716-1809), a favourite of Napoleon.
Mr Sarkozy was said to be seriously considering the idea. It comes after he was accused last year of a form of political grave digging after he suggested that the body of the novelist Albert Camus should be moved into the Panthéon. Left-wing politicians accused the centre-right president of trying to snatch the body of one of their heroes and literary critics complained that a spiritual rebel like Camus should not be placed among the official heroes of the French republic.
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