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A dazzling portrait of Paris’s forgotten artist and cabaret star, and her complicated journey to power, romance, and ruin.
In 1920s Paris, Kiki de Montparnasse captivated as a nightclub performer, wrote a best-selling memoir featuring an introduction by Ernest Hemingway, sold out a gallery debut of her paintings, and shared drinks with the likes of Pablo Picasso, Peggy Guggenheim, and Marcel Duchamp. But if she’s remembered today, it is for posing for and inspiring many great artists―especially Man Ray, with whom she created several of the iconic images that made his reputation as a groundbreaking American photographer.
So why has Man Ray’s legacy endured while Kiki has been relegated to a footnote? By charting their decade-long entanglement―professional and romantic―Mark Braude illuminates for the first time Kiki’s seminal influence on the culture of 1920s Paris and beyond. Following the couple as they created art, struggled for power, and competed for fame, Kiki Man Ray challenges ideas about artists and muses, and the lines separating the two.