K is for Kiki de Montparnasse

K is for Kiki de Montparnasse

It is late Saturday evening, I am alone at home, reading about nude models in 1920s Paris. I am thinking about how the painters like Chagall still have name recognition nearly a century on, but most of the women who surrounded them – models and artists, many of who met rather unfortunate ends – are forgotten (if they were ever known).

That is why I find it delightful how Maria Herreros’ series of portraits of Kiki, a nightclub singer, actress and a popular artist’s model, salute the The Queen of Montparnasse. She posed for the most famous and respected modernist artists of the 1920s, including Maurice Utrillo, Jean Cocteau, Tsuguharu Foujita, Amedeo Modigliani, Julian Mandel, Francis Picabia, Arno Breker, Alexander Calder, Per Krohg, Pablo Gargallo, and Moise Kisling.

Herreros has used photographs and modernists’ paintings as a base for her illustrations, but as always – instead of creating duplicates she brings her subject to life with an empathic, inimitable style.

To see in the exhibition:

Maria Herreros: The model, 2018

and several other portraits of Kiki de Montparnasse.