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Man Ray: American Artist

Overview

The definitive biography of one of the most influential surrealists and a quintessential modernist. Figure-painter, sculptor, photographer, filmmaker, and collagist, Ray was born Emmanuel Radnitsky in Brooklyn. This book traces his American upbringing and his departure for Europe plus his work in painting, sculpture, photography, and filmmaking. Although he wasn’t successful in all media, Man Ray nonetheless had his own style and vision. Baldwin’s portrait was the first full-length biography of Man Ray. This ...

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Overview

The definitive biography of one of the most influential surrealists and a quintessential modernist. Figure-painter, sculptor, photographer, filmmaker, and collagist, Ray was born Emmanuel Radnitsky in Brooklyn. This book traces his American upbringing and his departure for Europe plus his work in painting, sculpture, photography, and filmmaking. Although he wasn’t successful in all media, Man Ray nonetheless had his own style and vision. Baldwin’s portrait was the first full-length biography of Man Ray. This edition has a new intro by the author updating the artist’s story.

A full-length biography of Ray, drawing on family archives and photographs.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Man Ray was a bundle of enigmasa Dadaist who revered the Old Masters, an anarchist coddled by wealthy patrons, an obsessive documenter of his own works who was relentlessly determined to erase his personal history. Born Emmanuel Radnitsky, son of a Philadelphia garment factory worker and a strict, sharp-tongued housewife, he grew up in Brooklyn, fled to Paris and eluded ties with a family proud of their bohemian son. He became a chess addict and neglected his first wife; he writhed with jealousy when his mistress-model scored success as an artist. Driven to make his mark in as many art forms as possible, the photographer/object-maker/collagist bitterly struggled to win acceptance as a painter. Turning to Hollywood as a filmmaker in the 1940s, he was dismissed by the art world. Man Ray's lighthearted autobiography Self-Portrait (Forecasts, Aug. 12) hides his inner contradictions; Baldwin, biographer of William Carlos Williams, unmasks his quirks in a model biographyjudicious, compulsively readable, rooting its subject in his cultural milieu. The first full-length life of the artist, it is a remarkable feat of sleuthing. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Library Journal
The aim of these two books is the same: the delineation of Man Ray, inventive photographer, painter, sculptor, and film maker who dominated the iconoclastic inner circle of 20th-century art. It is typical of this paradoxical artist that one must look to the biography for historical framework. In the autobiography, wonderfully animated in style and filled with imagination and candor but little chronological documentation, Man Ray presents his image of Man Ray. While this update of a 1963 publication is an atmospheric stream-of-life account and Baldwin's workthe first full-length biographyan anecdotal examination of the artist's restlessness, curiosity, and wittily skewed vision of reality, both portraits convey Man Ray's passion and commitment. They also have in common the cooperation of Juliet Man Ray, who supplied photographs and documents from her own private collection and memories of her husband. Published to coincide with a forthcoming traveling retrospective exhibit, these books provide background for understanding this self-contained artist. Expect more on Man Ray this season; see ``State of the Arts'' in LJ 's September 15 issue. Ed. Paula Frosch, Metropolitan Museum Lib., New York
Library Journal
Though he has been a staple in the French art scene from the expatriate 1920s on, Man Ray was born Emmanuel Radnitsky in Brooklyn. This book traces his American upbringing and his departure for Europe plus his work in painting, sculpture, photography, and filmmaking. Although he wasn't successful in all media, Man Ray nonetheless had his own style and vision. Baldwin's 1988 portrait was the first full-length biography of Man Ray. This edition has a new intro by the author updating the artist's story. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
YA-- Man Ray is an emminent figure in 20th-Century modernism, especially photography and photographic techniques. Baldwin, who had access to the artist's private papers and the cooperation of his family, took five years in putting together this comprehensive biography, which is copiously illustrated with photographs. The scholarly style and length of the book may intimidate some readers, but art and photography students will especially appreciate this insightful biography for research or for perusal.-- Jenni Elliott, Episcopal High School, Bellaire, Tex.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306810145
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2001
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 472
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Neil Baldwin is executive director of the National Book Foundation and the author of several books, including To All Gentleness: William Carlos Williams, The Doctor-Poet.

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