A VISIT TO MAN RAY’S STUDIO
Recognized as one of the 25 most influential artists of the 20th century. Man Ray’s groundbreaking photography, his experimentation in film, his painting, sculpture, collages and assemblages were the prototypes of what would eventually be called performance art and conceptual art. He became a major proponent of Dadaism, which takes its name from the French nickname for a rocking horse. This new art form challenged existing notions of art and literature, and encouraged spontaneity. After an early career in New York Ray moved to Paris in 1921. There, he became a part of the artistic avant garde, where he became famous for his portraits of his artistic and literary associates. He eventually photographed most of the English and American writers who were then living in Paris along with many of the artists he admired, including Picasso, Matisse, Gris and Braque. He also developed a thriving career as a fashion photographer, taking pictures for such magazines as Vogue. Using the money he made from these commercial endeavors he was able to support his pursuit of his fine art efforts. A photographic innovator, by accident one day in his darkroom, Ray discovered a new way to create interesting images. He called these photos “Rayographs,” and they were made by placing and manipulating objects on pieces of photosensitive paper.
One of his most famous works from this time period was 1924’s “Violin d’Ingres.” This modified photograph features the bare back of his lover, the well known model and performer named Kiki, styled after a painting by the neoclassical French artist Jean August Dominique Ingres. In a humorous twist, Ray added the two black ƒ-holes to make her back look like a musical instrument. During this time he also explored the artistic possibilities of film, creating such now classic Surrealistic works as L’Etoile de Mer (1928). Along with his later muse, lover and partner, Lee Miller, Ray also experimented with a technique called the Sabatier effect, or solarization, which added a silvery, ghostly quality to his images.
In this view of 30-31bis on the Rue Campagne Première, Man Ray’s studio was on the ground floor just to the left of the entrance on the right side.
Photos taken in Paris in July 2014.
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