Kiki's Paris: Artists and Lovers 1900-1930 Paperback – 1 Jan 1998
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In the space of one week Harry N. Abrams publish two books concerning legendary women who led remarkable lives on their own terms. "The Red Rose Girls" by Alice A. Carter, reveals the fortunes and mutual attactions of three hugely successful American artist/illustrators of the early 20th century: Jessie Willcox Smith, Elizabeth Shippen Green and Violet Oakley. Graduates of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, they progressed to an idyllic existence together on a quasi-English country estate just outside Philadelphia. Financed by commissions from major publishers and architects, and buoyed up by public and critical acclaim that took no offence at their bohemian lifestyle, everything seemed perfect - until various problems arose and one of them opted out for conventional marriage to a man. Set in an era that wavered between obscured female sexuality and emerging women's rights, this fascinating and touching account of the Red Rose group includes numerous contemporary photographs and colour reproductions of their artwork. (Run on to 0810925915 "Kiki's Paris") - Charlotte Gerlings The arts scene of "Kiki's Paris, Artists and Lovers 1900-1930" jumps out in striking contrast to the constricted world of the Red Rose girls. The ferment of the modern movement in Montparnasse points up the city's internationality and the incessant pushing of artistic boundaries during that period. Visitors to the exhibition "Paris: Capital of the Arts, 1900-1968" at London's Royal Academy have recently been treated to works by all the leading artists mentioned in this attentively revised edition of Billy Kluver and Julie Martin's history - including Pablo Gargallo's exquisite sculpture of the "Queen of Montparnasse" herself. Scarcely anyone in art, music or literature was not either a friend or lover of the captivating Kiki; here she weaves in and out of the social and cultural parade - "very wonderful to look at", as Hemingway remarked, adding later, "being a Queen of course is very different from being a lady." (Run on after 0810990687 "Red Rose Girls") - Charlotte Gerlings
Top Customer Reviews
The thoroughness of the biographical and geographical detail, the wealth of anecdote and the richness of the images is exceptional, and makes for many pleasurable hours of browsing. Famous names and their relationships come to life as never before, and every nook and cranny of the famous Montparnasse district (sadly much changed in recent decades) is mapped out.
The book gives pleasure, but its sheer thoroughness makes it a genuinely important work of scholarship. Would that other important times and places were explored in such revealing detail.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is a book that you'll want to read and re-read again and again. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
This book is well worth reading. In many ways, it's like looking at a personal photo album with really good captions explaining the pictures and the people in them. Unlike most personal photo albums this one includes pictures of the "underside" of Paris along with pictures of its residents dressed and undressed. The residents apparently loved to party as demonstrated by the huge number of masked balls and other wild parties shown in picture after picture. This book is extra interesting because of the informal portraits of so many famous artists at work and definitely at play. With snapshots of the smoky world of the cafes, the brothels, the art schools, and the hedonistic picnics, the book makes that by-gone era live again. Kiki, with her cabaret dancing, nude modeling, infamous lovemaking and bubbling personality was the very personification of the hedonistic age that produced creativity the likes of which the world has seldom witnessed. She makes a perfect sexy trunk and limbs upon which to hang this elm tree-sized collection of colorful historic portraits.