Coming August 9, 2022

‘Mark Braude’s writing and subject make this book irresistible, as was Kiki herself.’ —Jim Jarmusch

A dazzling portrait of Paris’s forgotten artist and cabaret star, whose incandescent life asks us to see the history of modern art in new ways.

 

In  freewheeling 1920s Paris, Kiki de Montparnasse captivated as a nightclub performer, sold out gallery showings of her paintings, starred in Surrealist films, and shared drinks and ideas with the likes of Jean Cocteau and Marcel Duchamp. Her best-selling memoir—featuring an introduction by Ernest Hemingway—made front-page news in France and was immediately banned in America. All before she turned 30.

Kiki was once the symbol of bohemian Paris. But if she is remembered today, it is only for posing for several now-celebrated male artists, including Modigliani and Calder, but especially for Man Ray. Why has Man Ray’s legacy endured while Kiki has become a footnote?

Kiki and Man Ray met in 1921 during a chance encounter at a café. What followed was an explosive decade-long connection, both professional and romantic, during which the couple grew and experimented as artists, competed for fame, and created many of the shocking images that cemented Man Ray’s reputation as one of the great artists of the modern era. The works they made together, including the Surrealist icons Le Violon d’Ingres and Noire et blanche, now set records at auctions.

Charting their volatile relationship, historian Mark Braude illuminates for the first time Kiki’s seminal influence not only on Man Ray’s art, but on the culture of 1920s Paris and beyond. As provocative and magnetically irresistible as Kiki herself, Kiki Man Ray is the story of an exceptional life that will challenge ideas about artists and muses—and the lines separating the two.

MARK BRAUDE is a cultural historian and the author of Kiki Man Ray: Art, Love, and Rivalry in 1920s Paris (W.W. Norton, Summer 2022), The Invisible Emperor: Napoleon on Elba from Exile to Escape (Penguin Press, 2018), and Making Monte Carlo: A History of Speculation and Spectacle (Simon & Schuster, 2016). His books have been translated into several languages.

Mark was a 2020 visiting fellow at the American Library in Paris and was named a 2017 NEH Public Scholar. He is the recipient of grants from the Silvers Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, the de Groot Foundation, and others. He has been a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) and a lecturer in Stanford’s departments of Art History, French, and History.

Mark was born in Vancouver and went to college at the University of British Columbia. He received an MA from NYU’s Institute of French Studies and a PhD in History and Visual Studies from USC. He has written for The Globe and Mail, The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, and other publications. He lives in Vancouver with his wife and their two daughters.

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