Surrealism: Man Ray

A creator needs only one enthusiast to justify him. Man Ray

Image from Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The Surrealists have piqued my interest since I saw my first Luis Buñuel film, Un chien andalou. The weird (and sometimes disturbing) images and the lack of plot create a very interesting short film. I’ve also always liked Salvador Dalí’s paintings and Man Ray’s photography and drawings The Centre Pompidou describes Surreralism:

The Surrealist group was formed in the spirit of revolt which characterised the European avant-garde of the 1920s. Just like the Dada movement, in which some of them had participated, these poets and artists denounced the rationalist arrogance of the late 19th century which had been halted in its tracks by the First World War.  However, perceiving Dadaism’s incapacity to build new positive values, the Surrealists broke away from it to proclaim the official existence of their own movement in 1924. Dominated by the personality of André  Breton, Surrealism was at first essentially a literary movement. Surrealism introduced the theory of the liberation of desire through the invention of techniques that aimed to reproduce the mechanisms of dreams.

Man Ray was born in Philadelphia in 1890, spent time in New York City, and moved to Paris in 1921. He was an experimental photographer but also a poet, painter, and documentarian of the Dada and Surrealist artists.

Tears (Les Larmes), 1932 This is one of my favorite images from Man Ray. We saw an exhibition in Paris a couple of years ago with some of his work – it was one of my favorite art exhibits ever.

Image from Smithsonian American Art Museum

Kiki (Alice Prin), circa 1925– Kiki de Montparnasse was an artist’s model and Man Ray’s partner in the 1920s.

Image from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Nancy Cunard, circa 1926– I love her collection of bangles, probably Bakelite and celluloid.

Image from Art Institute of Chicago. © 2008 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society.

Huile– I’d love to have this in my kitchen!

Image from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Man Ray is buried in Paris at the Cimetière de Montparnasse. His headstone says “Unconcerned but Not Indifferent.” We saw his grave on one of our cemetery walks.

For more images, check out the Man Ray Trust. (Many of the links are dead but the image bank appears pretty robust.) For more on his photographic methods, see Atget Photography.

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One thought on “Surrealism: Man Ray

  1. Pingback: Reflections on a Midnight in Paris | Tweed Librarian

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