The Queen of Montparnasse

Kiki, was the stage name for Alice Ernestine Prin (1901 – 1953), a nightclub singer, actress, model, and painter.

Born in Chatillon-sur-Seine, Côte d’Or, Burgundy, France on October 2, 1901. An illegitimate child, she was raised in abject poverty by her grandmother. At age 12 she was sent to Paris to be educated and by age 14 she was posing nude for sculptors.

Alice Prin became one of the most famous artists’ models ever, the most notable of which is a colection of photographs by Man Ray and the portrait of her painted by Moise Kisling titled Nu assis. Her partnership with Man Ray produced some of Surrealism’s most significant images. The symbol of bohemian and creative Paris, at age 28 she was declared “Queen of Montparnasse.

Between 1880 and 1930, the center of the art world was arguably a section of Paris known as Montparnasse. Kiki and her friends (Man Ray, Kisling, Calder, Picasso, Jean Cocteau, etc.) shocked the establishment with their art and with their lifestyles.

Long after her time, Kiki remains the embodiment of the outspokenness, audacity, and creativity that marked this period of Montparnasse.

Kiki de Montparnasse saw the end of its glory, then the tragedy of decrepitude.

She died in 1953 alcoholic and doped. Only Foujita attended the cimetary of Thiais to its burial.

Foujita said that with Kiki, they buried forever the glorious days of Montparnasse.

From WIKIPEDIA “The Free Encyclopedia”