A Beautiful and fascinating Nude portrait of Kiki de Montparnasse a French model,done in the 1920s In a beautiful gilded carved frame. Alice Ernestine Prin (2 October 1901 – 29 April 1953), nicknamed the Queen of Montparnasse, and often known as Kiki de Montparnasse, was a French artist's model, literary muse, nightclub singer, actress, memoirist and painter. She flourished in, and helped define, the liberated culture of Paris in the 1920s. A painter in her own right, in 1927 Prin had a sold-out exhibition of her paintings at the Galerie au Sacre du Printemps in Paris. Signing her work with her chosen single name, Kiki, she usually noted the year. Her drawings and paintings comprise portraits, self-portraits, social activities, fanciful animals, and dreamy landscapes composed in a light, slightly uneven, expressionist style that is a reflection of her easy-going manner and boundless optimism.
Alice Prin around 1920
Her autobiography was published in 1929 as Kiki's Memoirs, with Ernest Hemingway and Tsuguharu Foujita providing introductions. In 1930 the book was translated by Samuel Putnam and published in Manhattan by Black Manikin Press, but it was immediately banned by the United States government. A copy of the first US edition was held in the section for banned books in the New York Public Library through the 1970s. However, the book had been reprinted under the title The Education of a Young Model throughout the 1950s and 1960s (e.g., a 1954 edition by Bridgehead has the Hemingway Introduction and photos and illustrations by Mahlon Blaine). These editions were mainly put out by Samuel Roth. Taking advantage that the banning of the book meant it did not receive copyright protection in the U.S., Roth put out a series of supposedly copyrighted editions (which were never registered with the Library of Congress) which altered the text and added illustrations – line drawings and photographs – which were not by Prin. Editions published in and after 1955 include an extra 10 chapters supposedly written by Prin 23 years after the original book, including a visit to New York where she meets with Samuel Roth and Ernest Hemingway; none of this was true. The original autobiography finally saw a new translation and publication in 1996.