Man Ray

Man Ray, Self-Portrait with Half Beard, 1943, vintage silver print, 7 1/8 × 5 1/8 inches (18.1 × 13 cm) © Man Ray Trust / ADAGP 2017.


Over the course of his storied career, Man Ray’s work spanned a variety of media: painting, photography, sculpture, printmaking, film, poetry, and prose. His work aligned variously with Cubism, Futurism, Dada, and Surrealism—all the while retaining its own distinct style. Man Ray was most noted for his profound body of photographic works, which encompassed fashion, portraiture, and technical experimentation such as solarization and the widely celebrated photograms or “rayographs”: the artist created these compelling images without a camera, arranging found objects onto sheets of photosensitive paper and exposing them to light. The rayographs wavered between representation and concept, epitomizing the indeterminate forces which have come to define his vast oeuvre. Alluding to relationships between the real and the fictive, Man Ray commanded a deft mastery over the liminal territory between the abstract and the figurative form.

Man Ray was born in 1890 in Philadelphia, and died in 1976 in Paris. Collections include The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Recent solo exhibitions include “Alias Man Ray: The Art of Reinvention,” The Jewish Museum, New York (2009–10); “Man Ray Portraits,” The National Portrait Gallery, London (2013); and “Man Ray—Human Equations,” Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (2015).