By descent to the present owner
As with so much of Man Ray’s work, the present photograph is a nod to Surrealist themes of chance and double-entendre. Surrealist artists would use superimposed images to create compositions throughout the 1920s and 30s, frequently using the female form to make reference to sexuality and fertility. In Pierre Boucher’s Femme-Fleur of 1937, a full-body portrait of a nude woman is superimposed with an image of a flowering plant.
Man Ray favored Magnolia from the start, and it appeared as a full page reproduction in the French issue of Vogue in April 1927. There titled Portrait de Fleur, the accompanying caption described Man Ray as 'the portraitist of things' and made an analogy between the eroticism of a flower and a woman’s body: 'The pulp appears whiter, as flesh that its splendor made almost immodest.' In 1934, Man Ray included this image in the first survey of his most important photographs: Man Ray Photographs 1920-1934.
At the time of this writing, no other print of this double-exposure has been located. The presence of the Manford M28 and M29 posthumous studio and copyright stamps, as well as The Man Ray Trust inventory number in pencil on the reverse, indicate that the present photograph was in Man Ray's possession until his death.
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