Man Ray Portraits

Overview

The artist May Ray (1890–1976) initially taught himself photography in order to reproduce his own works of art, but it became one of his preferred mediums. As a contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements in Paris during the 1920s, Man Ray was perfectly placed to make defining images of his avant-garde contemporaries, including Jean Cocteau, Peggy Guggenheim, and Gertrude Stein. Man Ray also photographed his friends and lovers, among them Kiki de Montparnasse (Alice Prin), Lee Miller, who helped him discover...

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Overview

The artist May Ray (1890–1976) initially taught himself photography in order to reproduce his own works of art, but it became one of his preferred mediums. As a contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements in Paris during the 1920s, Man Ray was perfectly placed to make defining images of his avant-garde contemporaries, including Jean Cocteau, Peggy Guggenheim, and Gertrude Stein. Man Ray also photographed his friends and lovers, among them Kiki de Montparnasse (Alice Prin), Lee Miller, who helped him discover the solarization printing process, and Ady Fidelin. Man Ray continued to take portrait photographs throughout his career, including little-known images from 1940s Hollywood, and of stars such as Ava Gardner and Catherine Deneuve taken during the 1950s and 1960s.

An essential reference on Man Ray’s life and work, this book includes an introduction by Terence Pepper and essay by Marina Warner exploring the artist’s creativity and appetite for innovation and experimentation. Complete with first-hand testimonies from the artist’s sitters and over 200 beautifully reproduced images, this handsome volume provides a survey of the finest portraits from one of the most inventive photographic artists of the 20th century.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this exquisite volume, published in association with London’s National Portrait Gallery and featuring an introduction by Marina Warner, the 200-plus portraits by Man Ray (1890–1976) share a virtuosic and dramatic quality. Ray’s most famous images remain arresting and fresh, such as his 1926 Noire et Blanche studies of a pale black-haired woman holding a black mask, and his iconic 1924 Le Violon d’Ingres, showing the lower back of a nude decorated with the f-shaped sound holes of a violin or cello. Ray remained at the forefront of photography and art throughout his years in Paris, where he shot dynamic images of his artistic friends and his girlfriend, collaborator, and muse Lee Miller (with whom he developed his famous solarization technique). The book chronicles Ray’s portraits as he traveled from New York to Paris to Hollywood and back to Paris. The collection is a veritable who’s who of artists, writers, and famous faces from the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s, including Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Ava Gardner, and Catherine Deneuve. Pepper supplements the collection with little-known images from Ray’s career in Hollywood as a magazine photographer and his foray into early color film. Together with his Surrealist and Dadaist ready-mades, collages, and experimental films, which are mentioned in Pepper’s chronology, these photographs reveal Ray’s true artistic genius. 200 color and b&w illus. (Mar.)
Bookforum - Albert Mobilio
“Spanning more than a half century of work, [this] collection includes familiar, if not iconic, images from the modernist hit parade . . . as well as glamour shots from Hollywood. . . . revealing essences and idiosyncrasies.” —Albert Mobilio, Bookforum
American Fine Art
“Essential . . . this handsome volume provides a survey of the finest portraits from one of the most inventive photographic artists of the 20th century.”—American Fine Art
Library Journal
This title accompanies the first major museum retrospective of the legendary surrealist Man Ray’s innovative portrait photography. The exhibition catalog concentrates on the artist’s career in the United States and Paris between 1916 and 1968 and features his friendships and collaborations with key figures within the Dadaist and surrealist movements, such as Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dalí. Organized chronologically, this elegant book includes more than 200 important portraits that not only showcase Man Ray’s impressive connections within the artistic community but also his signature experimental photographic approaches such as solarization and multiexposure techniques. The years he spent in Paris represent the most creative and productive time of his artistic life, including the genesis of such iconic images as Le Violin D’Ingres, Nior et Blanche, and Solarised Portrait of Lee Miller. Of special note are testimonials from the sitters themselves and the many self-portrait approaches that Man Ray continued to explore throughout his lifetime. Also included is an introduction by Marina Warner (literature & film, Univ. of Essex; Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights), an essay on Man Ray’s magazine and editorial work by Pepper (curator, photographs, National Portrait Gallery, London), and an exhaustive, illustrated chronology.

Verdict Highly recommended for fans of photography, art history, and surrealism.—Shauna Frischkorn, Millersville Univ., PA
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, 2013.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300194791
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2013
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 947,457
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Terence Pepper is curator of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Marina Warner is professor in the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex.

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