16
16
Man Ray
NUDE (FROM THE 'LA PRIÈRE' SERIES)
Estimate
70,000100,000
LOT SOLD. 149,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
16
Man Ray
NUDE (FROM THE 'LA PRIÈRE' SERIES)
Estimate
70,000100,000
LOT SOLD. 149,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The Inventive Eye: Photographs from a Private Collection

|
New York

Man Ray
1890-1976
NUDE (FROM THE 'LA PRIÈRE' SERIES)
initialed and dated in pencil, the photographer's '31 bis, Rue Campagne Première, Paris - 14e' studio stamp (Manford M5), partially crossed out, and with numerical notations in pencil on the reverse, framed, 1930
9 by 11 5/8  in. (23 by 29.5 cm.)
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Christie's New York, 11 November 1986, Sale 6234, Lot 283

Private collection

Sotheby’s New York, 26 April 2001, Sale 7633, Lot 126

Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, 2005

Literature

Jean-Hubert Martin, Man Ray, Photographs (New York, 1981), pl. 112

Emmanuelle de l'Ecotais and Alain Sayag, eds., Man Ray: Photography and Its Double (Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 1998), pp. 166-7

Catalogue Note

In his oeuvre of inventive nude studies—ranging from the classically beautiful to the nearly pornographic—the series of Man Ray photographs in which this reclining model appears is unusual in its evocation of sex, death, and mystery.   The angle of the woman’s body and the disarray of her hair suggest a crime-scene photograph, a suggestion confirmed by other images from this same session: in one, the woman has been given a ‘mortal’ wound, from which theatrical blood flows, while in another, Man Ray himself makes an appearance, somewhat ambiguously, in the role of grief-stricken lover or fellow murder victim (reproduced in Photography and Its Double, pp. 164-67).   In this sequence, the model evolves from a voluptuous sleeping woman into a mysterious actor in a mise-en-scène, one not explained in the Man Ray literature.   The image offered here presents a slyly evocative narrative with many possible dénouements, ranging from the erotic to the sinister. 

In the present photograph, Man Ray has exercised particular care in framing.  While the original negative shows the nude lying in a traditional horizontal position (ibid., p. 166), Man Ray has tilted the axis radically in this print, so that the figure is nearly diagonal.  This change of angle adds compositional tension, creating an image of dramatic impact. 

In Photography and Its Double, this image is shown as part of a larger group of photographs designated with the series title, La Prière.  The most famous image from this session is the eponymously titled nude study illustrated below. 

The Inventive Eye: Photographs from a Private Collection

|
New York