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.
Man Ray’s seminal 1926 image Noir et Blanche (one of the most important & influential examples of surreal photography), and its reverse negative print, depicting Man Ray’s muse Kiki de Montparnasse, her pale face resting on a table and her hand holding up a wooden African mask whose beatific expression she is mimicking. The duo had met in 1921, when Man Ray, allured by the actress and singer’s “cute accent and air of mystery”, had asked her to pose for him. The pair lived together for a time as lovers but eventually separated, although Montparnasse continued to model for him on and off for many years. – (Behind Man Ray’s Seminal Photograph of Kiki de Montparnasse)