Alice Ernestine Prin was born in a deprived environment and after having experienced all kinds of odd jobs, including being a nude model for a sculptor at only 15, she entered an artistic environment.
Close to Chaim Soutine, she spent time with the Montparnasse artistic figures in such places as La Rotonde while she began sitting for Amadeo Modigliani and Tsugouharu Foujita. Soon, in the 1920s, she became the 'Queen of Montparnasse' and established her legendary persona with her short hair, bright red lips and smoky eyes, the whole under the name Kiki de Montparnasse.
In 1921, she was Man Ray's lover and favourite sitter. She befriended such figures as André Breton and Max Ernst as well as Ernest Hemingway and she became the muse of a bohemian Parisian Left Bank.