Inspiration: Kiki de Montparnasse

 One of Man Ray's iconic images of Alice Prin

One of Man Ray's iconic images of Alice Prin

 "Kiki from Back" by Man Ray

"Kiki from Back" by Man Ray

Whether you call her Kiki de Montparnasse, the Queen of Montparnasse or simply by her birth name, Alice Prin. She is still one of the most prolific muses of the 1920’s. A talented artist in her own right, she was also one of the great partygoers of the during the 20’s and 30’s and of  the great lovers of the period as well. Prin grew up in the French countryside till the age of twelve  by her grandmother. Prin was not afraid of the fact that she was bastard child, in her memoir she shared how she would run into her half sister and the sister would tell her, "i am going to tell my father" to which kiki responded "i don't give a damn, he's my father too."

Prin would move to Paris to live with her mother at age twelve to start working in shops and patisseries. By age 14 she was already posing nude for artists and so began her deep relationship with some of the great artists in history. By the end of the 1920’s Prin had become one of the most coveted muses of such names as Jean Cocteau, Alexander Calder, Pablo Gargallo, Per Krohg and spent most of the 1920’s as Man Ray’s lover and muse. In 1929 Prin published her autobiography “Kiki’s Memoirs” and it was a smash in France and most of Europe. The memoir was finally translated (poorly) in 1930 and published and was immediately placed on banned book list by the United States Government. The book would see a rebirth in the 50’s and 60’s and an extra chapter was added, supposedly written by Prin. After much research the extra chapter was omitted in the original transcripts new translation in 1996, because it was labeled fraud. The only first edition of the english translation is in the banned book section of the New York Public Library. It was moved out of the banned book stack finally in 1970. 

In her later years Prin did struggle with her health and income. She was known to say "all I need is an onion, a bit of bread, and a bottle of red [wine]; and I will always find somebody to offer me that.” Getting old sucks but being thrifty makes it all the better.