Sotheby’s New York, 5 October 1995, Sale 6747, Lot 344
A tightly cropped variant of one image:
Man Ray 1890-1976 (London, 1994), pl. 114
Emmanuelle de l’Ecotais and Alain Sayag, eds., Man Ray: Photography and its Double (Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 1998), p. 134
In addition to his film and theatre work, Thomas Koerfer has been continually engaged in the art world of Zürich and is an adventurous and keen-eyed collector of contemporary art and photographs. He was for many years on the board of the Kunsthalle Zürich and served as president of the foundation committee of the Fotomuseum Winterthur for 12 years. His collection, the subject of the 2004 book, Stripped Bare: The Body Revealed in Contemporary Art, will be shown at the Kunsthaus Zürich in June of 2015.
This suite of sensual images shows Man Ray's lover and muse, Lee Miller. Man Ray had met the young and beautiful American Lee Miller in Paris in 1929, and she became his studio assistant and then his lover. A fine photographer in her own right, Miller was linked to Man Ray for three years, a tumultuous period in which she inspired some of Man Ray's most famous photographs and paintings.
The photographs offered here are a perfect collaboration between photographer and model. In these images, Miller shifts her body in relation to the sunlight, manipulating both the window and the curtain, creating a series of sensual tableaux. Throughout, Man Ray makes inventive use of natural light filtered through curtains to delineate the contours of Miller’s form. The sunlight passing through the mesh-patterned curtains projects lines of latitude and longitude onto Miller, creating an erotic topographical map of her body. This effect is most pronounced in the first image of this trio, which Man Ray cropped radically in subsequent prints to focus solely on Miller’s torso. As in Man Ray’s other great nude studies, these three images show the photographer’s ability to combine a classic depiction of the nude with a distinctly novel photographic approach.
This series comes from a session during which at least four exposures were made; the negatives are in the collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris. As of this writing, other prints of these images, in this full-frame format, have not been located.
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