Man Ray

(About art rather than language.)

A set of notecards from Pomegranate Press I’ve been sending to friends has images of Man Ray gelatin silver prints from the 1920s. Fascinating stuff. Two samples. First, the famous Le Violon d’Ingres (1925) —

and then Noire et blanche of 1926, with Kiki de Montparnasse (as above) with an African artifact  —

About Le Violon, from the Getty Museum website:

Man Ray was an admirer of the paintings of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and made a series of photographs, inspired by Ingres’s languorous nudes, of the model Kiki in a turban. Painting the f-holes of a stringed instrument onto the photographic print and then rephotographing the print, Man Ray altered what was originally a classical nude. He also added the title Le Violon d’Ingres, a French idiom that means “hobby.” [from Ingres’s fascination with the violin]  The transformation of Kiki’s body into a musical instrument with the crude addition of a few brushstrokes makes this a humorous image, but her armless form is also disturbing to contemplate. The title seems to suggest that, while playing the violin was Ingres’s hobby, toying with Kiki was a pastime of Man Ray. The picture maintains a tension between objectification and appreciation of the female form.

And about Man Ray and this period of his life, from Wikipedia:

Man Ray (born Emmanuel Radnitzky, August 27, 1890 – November 18, 1976) was an American modernist artist who spent most of his career in Paris, France. He was a significant contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal. He produced major works in a variety of media but considered himself a painter above all. He was best known in the art world for his avant-garde photography, and he was a renowned fashion and portrait photographer. Ray is also noted for his work with photograms, which he called “rayographs” in reference to himself.

… In July 1921, Man Ray went to live and work in Paris, France. He soon settled in the Montparnasse quarter favored by many artists. Shortly after arriving in Paris, he met and fell in love with Kiki de Montparnasse (Alice Prin), an artists’ model and celebrated character in Paris bohemian circles. Kiki was Man Ray’s companion for most of the 1920s. She became the subject of some of his most famous photographic images and starred in his experimental films.

One Response to “Man Ray”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Rod Williams on Facebook:

    That “Noire et Blanche” is sooo evocative of Brancusi’s “Sleeping Muse,” as noted here…

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