Kiki de Montparnasse

–animated version of Kiki de Montparnasse
Alice Prin, better know as Kiki de Montparnasse, was one of the personalities who was well known in Paris in the 1920s. In many of the books on the Lost Generation and Paris in that era that I have read, Kiki is usually mentioned as a loyal friend and confidante to the artists and poets of the day. 

Kiki was born in 1901 in Burgundy in Châtillon-sur-Seine, Côte d’Or. She was an illegitimate child and was raised by her grandmother, as her mother left her to work in Paris. When she was 12 years old, she was sent to Paris to her mother to work as well. However, when Kiki was 14, she started posing nude for a sculptor and she and her mother had a parting of the ways.

–Kiki de Montparnasse, née Alice Prin

After that, Kiki started working for many of the painters and sculptors of the day and became a fixture in the Montparnasse section of Paris. Man Ray was one of the men she was with for approximately six years. They broke up because Man Ray wanted to be with fellow photographer and model Lee Miller

–Kiki photographed by Man Ray in the 1920s in Paris

Kiki was also an actress and she also drew and painted and even had her own showing at the Galerie au Sacre du Printemps in 1927. Kiki wrote a memoir in 1929 and this book was banned in the USA. The book was retranslated and republished in 1996. Kiki owned a cabaret in Paris in the 1930s, but she left Paris later due to World War II. 

— Kiki in the 1930s

In 1953, Kiki died in front of her flat in Montparnasse due to alcoholism and drug dependency. She was only 51 years old. Her tombstone reads:

Kiki, 1901–1953, singer, actress, painter, Queen of Montparnasse
Kiki de Montparnasse is remembered for being a strong, vibrant woman who lived the way she wanted to live, without regret.

  4 comments for “Kiki de Montparnasse

  1. Anonymous
    April 12, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    I think there is a graphic novel Kiki of Mountparnasse.


    • April 12, 2014 at 4:43 PM

      Hi, Marianne. The first hyperlink on Alice Prin at the beginning directs to that book!! Cheers, Denise

  2. April 13, 2014 at 1:19 AM

    Ah, there you are. Been waiting for you post to show up in my inbox. And this is so . .. Kiki … and French. Sad where fame takes the talents of the world. So very sad. But great post, as always.

    • April 13, 2014 at 1:26 AM

      Yes, I posted a little later today. I know what you mean about fame taking the talents. But I guess she did a whole lot of living in that shorter amount of time. Thanks, Silvia. I am ready for another day off! Cheers, D

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