More Than a Muse: A New Biography Casts Kiki de Montparnasse as a Leader in the Heady Art Swirl of 1920s Paris, Sarah Cascone, δημοσίευση στο Artnet News [5/1/2023]
If you know the name Kiki de Montparnasse, it’s probably as the subject of the famed 1924 Man Ray photograph Le Violon d’Ingres. The Surrealist masterpiece shows De Montaparnasse’s naked back marked in the dark room with the shapely f-holes of a violin, wittily comparing the curves of the female form to the string instrument.
Last May, a print of the image became the most expensive photograph ever to sell at auction, bringing in $12.4 million at Christie’s New York. (De Montparnasse’s own auction record is a still-respectable €19,275 [$23,406], set in 2021 at Fauve Paris for the 1927 painting L’acrobate, according to the Artnet Price Database.)
A model to a slew of major artists, including Alexander Calder, Francis Picabia, and Chaïm Soutine, to name just a few, De Montparnasse was Man Ray’s muse and lover for eight years, from 1921 through ’29.
But a new biography of the woman born Alice Ernestine Prin argues that she was in many ways the center of the Parisian avant-garde, highlighting her accomplishments as an actress, cabaret star, memoirist, and artist in her own right. Essentially, De Montparnasse was a talented multi-hyphenate who reinvented herself through an artistic persona—an act decades ahead of her time.