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Man Ray (1890-1976) is indisputably one of the most original artists of the 20th century. His revolutionary nude studies, fashion work, and portraits opened a new chapter in the history of photography. Born under the name of Emmanuel Radnitzky in Philadelphia, he began his artistic career in New York. In 1921 he moved to Paris, where he was enthusiastically welcomed into Dadaist and Surrealist circles. Man Ray experimented tirelessly with new photographic techniques, multiple exposure, rayography, and solarization being some of his most famous. Erotic, playful, and sometimes sinister, his compositions show unusual bodies and objects: strange, striking images that transform our perceptions of reality. This collection of famous, lesser known, and unknown works fully illustrates Man Ray’s singular visionary power.
Emmanuelle de l’Ecotals wrote her doctorate on Man Ray’s photograph archive. She also curated the exhibition Man Ray, la photographie a l’envers in Paris (1998-99) and recently published the book L’Esprit Dada. Katherine Ware is a curator of photography at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her recent publications include works on Man Ray and Laszio Moholy-Nagy.
His tailor father and seamstress mother soon relocated the family to the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, where Ray spent most of his childhood. His family changed their surname to Ray due to the fear of anti-Semitism.
Man Ray was a leading figure in the European and American avant-gardes of the 1920 s and 1930 s, including Dada and surrealism.
He helped found the Dada movement and was the prime American participant in the Surrealist movement. An American expatriate to Paris in the 1920s, he was a member of the so-called "Lost Generation" of creative minds associated with that time and place.