Kiki de Montparnasse by Catel & Bocquet

Kiki de Montparnasse
by Catel Muller & José-Louis Bocquet
SelfMadeHero, 2011

A great graphic novel biography of the famous artist model and singer Alice Prin, who features in many of Man Ray’s iconic photos (she was his muse and lover before the even-more fascinating Lee Miller) and whose image is sprinkled throughout the works of a dozen painters from the 1920s.

Prin is vividly and appealingly characterized in this thick volume, which contains a three-page bibliography (aided by her own notorious memoirs) and a comprehensive biographical notes of the many participants in her life, including Modigliani, Picasso, Tristan Tzara, Duchamp and Hemingway, not all of whom were her lovers.

Muller’s drawings aren’t very complicated (and tend to snap back on-model whenever photos were used as reference) but with her lively sable line and Bocquet’s chatty dialogue the story zips along, and even though Prin’s life doesn’t end particularly happily, it’s certainly a life well lived. Why isn’t there a film about her?

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