The Casa — Kiki de Monparnasse

This week we present to you the portrait of Kiki De Montparnasse, the muse of the Roaring Twenties , which represents our salmon pink color from our CASA

Kiki de Montparnasse was one of the most outstanding figures of Parisian artistic life between the wars (1921-1939). Nicknamed "the Queen of Montparnasse", she was a model, singer, dancer, cabaret manager, painter and film actress.

Muse and friend of many artists – Modigliani, Duchamp, Picasso, Cocteau, Aragon, many of the surrealists – Kiki was the muse and the inspiration of creators who have since become major signatures of modern art, such as Foujita and Man Ray. .

She was a "nobody girl", who became a bohemian figure of the 1920s. This famous Kiki is the animator of a neighborhood which, in the space of a decade, has become the home of the great names of modern art.

Born Alice Prin, October 2, 1901, in Burgundy, of a poor mother and her lover, a wealthy timber merchant, who will later make a marriage of convenience with a wealthier woman. She arrived in Paris at the age of 12 and was placed as a maid with a baker.

Revolting against the mistreatment she suffered, she was fired. To earn a living, she poses naked for a sculptor. This causes a violent argument with his mother who kicks him out of the house despite the winter. It is collected by the painter Chaïm Soutine. One winter evening, Soutine welcomes her into his workshop and burns the little furniture he has left to warm her up. She then began to frequent the Rotonde. But, to access the room, women must wear a hat. She finds herself “a marquis-style rascal who would have done his military service in Brittany”.

To make a living, she painted portraits of the many Anglo-Saxon soldiers who sat there. She also becomes a model. Painters quickly adopted it. For Modigliani, Foujita (“He looks at me with such intensity that he undresses me a second time!”) and the photographer Man Ray, his great love. The photo, bare back, to which he adds two violin soundholes, has remained famous (Le Violon d'Ingres, 1924).

A free woman, she creates fashion and imposes a look that has been copied many times (short bob hairstyle, eyes underlined with kohl and carmine red lips). During the crisis of 1929, drugs became a remedy for gloom, “delicacies to caress the spirit”.

Her rump is rounding. Drinking too much and eating poorly, at 33 years old, Kiki weighs 80 kg. Painters still find what they’re looking for there. She sings in all the cabarets, in Paris, Berlin and Saint-Tropez… Her reputation spreads as far as the United States, where she is still today the subject of writings and studies. Her Memoirs — banned by American censorship — should have appeared in English in 1929, with a preface by Hemingway: “Here is a book written by a woman who was never a lady… but a queen. » That of a bohemian, irreverent Montparnasse.

In 1936, Kiki opened her own cabaret L'Oasis which would become Chez Kiki. André Laroque, pianist and accordionist of this cabaret, becomes her new lover. He helps Kiki get off drugs and types his memories which will lie dormant for 65 years before being published.

Finally, Kiki died in 1953, after successfully completing rehab and saying, "I've had a lover for six years." I love it! He plays the accordion with a strange sensitivity, he divinely accompanies my sentimental songs. Everything is fine ".

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