When Henry Somm and Alfred Jarry died in Paris in 1907, they were penniless and forgotten by all but their closest friends. However, the contrast between the life and work of these two artist/playwrights is graphically demonstrated by the conditions under which they passed away. Henry Somm, best known as a lesser-known Impressionist, was sixty-three years old when he died “of natural causes” in his atelier at 27 boulevard de Rochechouart. Alfred Jarry, friend of Picasso and a member of the avant-garde, died at thirty-four in indescribable filth within a closet-sized space between two floors in an apartment house. Since he was paralyzed from the waist down (the exact cause of which is not clear), he had lost control of his bowels. After not being seen for several days, Jarry, when found by friends, was covered in his own feces. This was a sad, albeit fitting ending to “Père Ubu,” who had shocked the theater-going public in 1896 with the word merdre (with an extra “r” added for emphasis), when it was pronounced at the opening curtain for Jarry's play Ubu roi.
Mix, Elizabeth, "Potty-talk in Parisian Plays" (1993). Scholarship and Professional Work – Arts. 8.