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Man Ray Biography

Man Ray at The ICP, New York

Man Ray at The Getty, Los Angeles

Man Ray Trust Website

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Born Emmanuel Radnitzky, Man Ray grew up in America but spent the greater part of his life as an migr in Paris. Working in several media, Man Ray's art includes painting, sculpture, collage, constructed objects and photography. Beginning in 1921, he received hundreds of commissions for portraits and commercial work which were featured in publications such as Vogue, Vu, Bazaar and Vanity Fair. He was an American, but worked in Paris from 1921 to 1940. His assistants included Berenice Abbott and Lee Miller, and Duchamp, Stieglitz, Picasso and Dali were among his colleagues. A member of the Dada art movement and the only American member of the Paris Surrealist movement, Man Ray considered himself an artist and thought of photography as a medium of artistic expression when used for more than reproduction. In describing his work, Man Ray once said, "I paint what can not be photographed. I photograph what I do not wish to paint."

Emmanuel Radnitsky is born on August 27 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

His family moves to Brooklyn, New York.

Bar Mitzvah

Enters high school and has lessons in freehand drawing and industrial draughtsmanship. "I came out with a complete technical training in the fundamentals of architecture, engineering and lettering."

Is offered grant to study architecture, which he turns down. "I'm not interested in the exterior aspect. I'm interested in a building's inside. Give me space, light and warmth, I'll take care of the rest."

Begins going to Ferrer Center (so named after the Spanish anarchist). The Center functioned under libertarian principles, with classes in drawing, watercolor. "In fact, everything was open and free, even love." Begins to visit the "291" gallery of Alfred Stieglitz

S'installe New York City.

Spring. Moves to Ridgefield, New Jersey. Works as advertising draughtsman.

Visits Armory Show and discovers European avant-garde with the works of Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia. . Makes first cubist painting: Portrait of Alfred Stieglitz. Meets Donna Lecoeur (Adon Lacroix), a poet of French extraction who reads him Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Lautramont, Mallarm, Apollinaire. Works part-time as draughtsman for publisher of maps and atlases until 1919. With the poet Alfred Kreymborg, attempts to create an artist's community in Ridgefield.

Winter. Meets an amateur poet, Hartpence, who introduces him to Daniel, a well to do merchant who later opens an art gallery.

May. Marries Adon Lacroix with whom he had been living in Ridgefield. Had apparently abandoned his family name and was now known as Man Ray, as it appears in the Marriage Register.

August. War breaks out in Europe, has to postpone his plans to visit France with Adon Lacroix. Does lettering for Adon's texts, embellishing them with drawings and lithographies. A Book of Diverse Writings is published the following year.

Buys a camera to photograph his paintings. September or October. First meeting with Marcel Duchamp in Ridgefield, New Jersey.

October to November. First one-man show at the Daniel Gallery: thirty paintings and some sketches. After the closing, Arthur J. Eddy buys six paintings for $2000.

Before winter. Moves back to New York on Lexington Avenue.

Attends soires at the Arensbergs (Walter and Louis), where he meets Charles Demuth, Georges Bellows, Joseph Stella, William Carlos Williams and the expatriate Frenchmen, Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, Edgar Varse, Jean Crotti. With Marcel Duchamp, he also participates in the New York Dada movement.

Before winter. Moves to 26th Street near Broadway. Paints The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself with Her Shadows.

Revolving Doors: "Collages mounted upon a stand and hinged so that they could be turned and seen one at a time."
December 1916 - January 16, 1917. Second one-man show at the Daniel Gallery.

John Quinn (and Roch ?) hires him to photograph works of art he owns or plans to buy.

Paints Suicide, one of his first aerographs. "Surprising results; it could have been photography, though the subjects were not at all photographic".
Makes first clich-verre.

Ferdinand Howall begins collecting Man Ray's work. Re-does the Rope Dancer in aerography.

Breaks off with Donna.
La volire, aerograph.
November 17 - December 1. Third one-man show at the Daniel Gallery.

Corresponds with Tristan Tzara . Designs first chess set.

Collaborates with Duchamp in photography.

With Marcel Duchamp, ties to make an anaglyphique film - in relief - with two cameras.

April 29. With Marcel Duchamp and Katherine Dreier, signs the constitution of 'Socit Anonyme Inc.' (Museum of Modern Art).

February 1-29. Participates in 'Exhibition of Painting by American Modernists', Museum of History, Science and Art, Los Angeles.

March 7-26. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Wins $10 for Portrait of a Sculptor Berenice Abbott in John Wanamaker's competition '15th Annual Exhibition of Photographs'.

Makes a film with Marcel Duchamp, Elsa, Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven, Shaves Her Pubic Hair.

June 21. Marcel Duchamp leaves New York for Paris.

July. Gets money from family and $500 from Ferdinand Howald to go to Paris.

July 14. Arrives in Paris. Marcel Duchamp intoduces him to Dadaists.

August. Lives in a top floor room, 22 rue de la Condamine, belonging to Yvonne Chastel.

Meets Paul Poiret.

Septembre. Signe L'il cacodylate : Man Ray, directeur de mauvais movies .

October. Meets Jean Cocteau who intoduces him to his many acquaintances.

Starting November. Many portraits of people.

Around November. Makes first rayograph.

At the opening of his exhibition at the Galerie des Six, meets Erik Satie. With him, creates Gift , an iron bristling with nails. Optical research with Marcel Duchamp which will result in Anmic Cinma.

Meets Kiki de Montparnasse .

November or December. Moves to Htel des Ecoles on the rue Delambre in Montparnasse.

1921-1922 : Premire rayographie .

Many portraits including those of Gertrude Stein, Georges Braque , James Joyce, Jean Cocteau... Works for Parisien publishers of English works. Does cover photographs for the magazines Mecano, The Little Review, Ma, Les Feuilles Libres, Aventura.

Becomes fashion photographer for Paul Poiret.

January. Tristan Tzara moves to the Htel des Ecoles.

January 10. Opening of the caf 'Buf sur le toit'. Photographs of 'the Cocteau gang' are hung there. February. Probably goes to San Rafal with Francis Picabia.

February 17. Signs Tristan Tzara's resolution against Andr Breton's Congrs de Paris.

July. Rents a studio at 31bis rue Campagne-Premire.

Mid-October to end November. Sick in bed.

November 18. At the request of Jean Cocteau, takes a picture of Marcel Proust on his deathbed.

Makes first movie The Return to Reason.

"In 1923 I was an established photographer"

Takes on Berenice Abbot as assistant until 1926.

July 6. Return to Reason is presented at the Cur Barbe soire at the Thtre Michel.

Dudley Murphy asks Man Ray to make a film. The project falls through and Murphy convinces Fernand Lger to make Ballet mcanique with Man Ray doing some of the photography.

November. The Jockey opens at Montparnasse with Kiki performing.

December.Marcel Duchamp, moves to the Htel Istria, 29 rue Campagne-Premire next door to Man Ray.


Automn. A chess game with Marcel Duchamp is filmed by Francis Picabia and Ren Clair in Entr'acte.

Monography of Georges Ribemont Dessaignes, Man Ray (Gallimard).

April. Man Ray photographs the couture section of the 'Exposition des Arts Dcoratifs'.

May. The French and American editions of 'Vogue' publish his fashion photographs.

May. Films Emak Bakia which will be shown at the 'Socit Anonyme' exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum.

Anmic Cinma with Marcel Duchamp and Marc Allgret.

May 13. Premire of L'Etoile de Mer (The Star of the Sea), a film by Man Ray based on a poem by Robert Desnos, at the Studio des Ursulines. It continues to be shown in the same program as The Blue Angel at least until December.

Biarritz. Lee Miller becomes his assistant until 1932. October. Showing of Les Mystres du Chteau du D (The Mystery of the Chteau of the Dice) at the Studio des Ursulines.

Summer. White ball at the Comtesse Pecci-Blunt's. With Lee Miller's assistance, projects images from a hand-colored film onto the guests white clothes.

A l'heure de l'observatoire, les amoureux (The Lovers).

Trip to Hamburg.
Summer. Meets up with Marcel Duchamp and Mary Reynolds in Cadaqus. They later go to Barcelona. In Cadaqus, he meets Dali and Gala again.

Moves to rue Denfert Rochereau. Later buys a little house in Saint Germain en Laye.

Has liason with Adrienne (Ady) .

Spends his summers in the South of France at Mougins : he and Adrienne, Paul Eluard and Nusch , Roland Penrose and Valentine Penrose, Pablo Picasso et Dora Maar along with the Afghan Hound, Kaslek. End of the year. Makes three trips to New York for a fashion magazine.

Makes last movie with Picasso and Paul Eluard. Rents an apartment in Antibes "so as to devote himself as much as possible to painting".

Paints the imaginary portrait D.A.F. de Sade.

May-June. Man Ray leaves Paris with Adrienne.

End June-beginning July. Returns to Paris. Leaves for New York via Lisbonne.

Arrives in Hollywood. Meets Juliet Browner.

Settles down first in the Chteau aux Fleurs, then quickly moves to a large studio on Vine street .
Re-does some of his works (La Fortune II, The Woman and Her Fish II, ...), including very old ones like Revolving Doors.

Hans Richter makes Dreams That Money Can Buy: six 'dreams' with scenarios by Calder, Duchamp, Ernst, Lger, Man Ray, Richter, with music of Varse, Cage, Bowles, Milhaud, Latouche.

Richter asks Man Ray to shoot one of the film's scenes. Man Ray refuses, but sends him a scenario, Ruth, Roses and Revolvers.

Man Ray gives a lecture on Surrealism.
"The only preparation I made for this was to construct an object that would demonstrate a Surrealist act." At the end of the lecture he organizes a lottery and gives the object to the winner.

Double wedding in Beverly Hills: Man Ray to Juliet Browner and Max Ernst to Dorothea Tanning.

Meets Bill Copley.

Summer. Quick trip to Paris with Juliet.

Beginning Autumn. Return to America.

Paints the Shakespearean Equations series based on mathematical objects taken in the 1930's which he'd brought back with him from his trip to Paris.

December. Exhibits these in Bill Copley's gallery in Beverly Hills

Photographs Ava Gardner

May. Moves into a studio on the rue Frou in Paris with Juliet.

Summer-winter. Takes up painting again. Experiments with color photography.

Series of Natural Paintings.

Fiftieth anniversary of Dada.

'Salute to Man Ray' exhibition at the American Center, Paris.

Marcel Zerbib makes multiples of 13 of Man Ray's works (1918-1976).

Two retrospectives: Boymans van Beuningen museum (Rotterdam) and the Galleria Schwarz (Milan)__ 225 works 1912-1971.

Andy Warhol devotes a series of paintings and seriographs to him.

The image of the metronome (Objet dtruire? Objet indestructible?) is used by the Social Democrat Party of Hamburg duing its election campaign "as an emblem of vigilance and discernment" (R. Penrose, Man Ray).

November 18. Man Ray dies in Paris.