© Man Ray (aka Emmanuel Radnitzky), 1926, Noire et blanche

Man Ray’s Noire et blanche is a photograph exemplary of Surrealist art. The striking faces of the pale model and the dark mask have a doubling effect. This repetition is a reminder that a photograph is a double of what it represents, namely, a sign or an index of reality. (…)

The image draws a parallel between the two faces presenting them as related to each another. (…) The photograph was first published in Vogue. It is a portrait of Kiki of Montparnasse, Man Ray’s lover and model at the time the photograph was taken. (Text from the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam website, via ArtBlart)

at Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany

Since 1911, Man Ray had been working in New York as a painter and sculptor. He is known as one of the first abstract painters in the USA, who tried to establish contact with the European Avantgarde early on.

In 1915, he turned towards photography, worked as a filmmaker and painter, and was a co-founder of the New York Dada section in 1917. In Paris, he joined the Surrealists, while also taking up commercial assignments for fashion- and portrait photography.

At the outbreak of war, he moved back to the USA and didn’t return to Paris until 1951. L Fritz Gruber got in contact with Man Ray in the 1950s, and he and his wife Renate kept up a cordial friendship with the artist until his death.

This friendship resulted in a wide-ranging collection of materials relating to him, including works of art, documents (correspondence etc.), objects, and signed exhibition catalogues. The Museum Ludwig acquired the Man Ray collection in September 2012. (+)

Exhibition dates:
Jan. 31 - May 5, 2013

#1: © Charles Fraser, 1960, Man Ray with Photokina-Eye, Photokina
#2: © Man Ray, ca. 1928, Gräfin Luisa Casati
#3: © Man Ray, ca. 1931, Study in two tones - to give masque effect‚ Value 14/20’

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© Man Ray (aka Emmanuel Radnitzky), Nov. 1922, Marcel Proust on His Deathbed

“It comes so soon, the moment when there is nothing left to wait for.” (Marcel Proust)

The tradition of photographing people on their deathbed (often days after the death) was common in the 19th and early 20th centuries. What do you think of this practice? Creepy? Or nice remembrance? (share your opinion on The Getty Museum’s Facebook page)

Joseph Babinski was called in to attend Marcel Proust, and was present when the prince of the subjective died in his cork-lined bedroom on Nov. 18, 1922. The final scenes have been described in a number of biographies. This account comes from William Carter. It is Babinski who tells the truth to the family at the bitter end. Inured to sentiment, focused on evidence, he was the only one present who was not in denial:

A short time later Robert [Proust’s brother, also a doctor] sent for Drs. Bize and Babinski. At approximately four o’clock, the three doctors conferred in the bedroom while Celeste listened, fearful that Proust heard everything. Robert suggested an intravenous injection of camphor, but Babinski said: “No, my dear Robert. Don’t make him suffer. There is no point.” Then Bize left. When Celeste showed Dr. Babinski to the door, she made a desperate plea: “Professor, you are going to save him, aren’t you?” Babinski took her hands in his and looked into her eyes: “Madame, I know all you have done for him. You must be brave. It is all over.” (from “William Carter - Marcel Proust: A Life”)

(read more)

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© Man Ray (aka Emmanuel Radnitzky), 1922, Gertrude Stein posing for Jo Davidson

Man Ray made this photograph most likely on assignment for the magazine Vanity Fair, which ran the image in a story about Stein and Jo Davidson in February 1923. (read more)

"My approach to my subjects was very simple. I never had them pose, we just talked about everything in the world." (Jo Davidson)


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© Man Ray (aka Emmanuel Radnitzky), 1931, Electricite
“The tricks of today are the truths of tomorrow.” (Man Ray)
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“of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. personally, i have always preferred inspiration to information.”