Lot 9
  • 9

Man Ray

Estimate
50,000 - 70,000 USD
Sold
314,500 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • Man Ray
  • UNTITLED (MANNEQUIN FATIGUÉ)
  • Gelatin silver print
  • 11¼ by 14¼ in. (28.5 by 36.2 cm.)
signed and dated by the photographer in pencil and his 'Man Ray, Paris Ve, 8, Rue du Val-de-Grace, Téléph. Danton 92-25' studio (Manford M8) and 'Copyright' (Manford M13) stamps on the reverse, framed, Buhl Collection and Galerie Françoise Paviot labels on the reverse, 1926, probably printed in the 1920s or 1930s

Provenance

Collection of Juliet Man Ray, the photographer's widow

Private Collection, New York

Sotheby's New York, 5 May 1988, Sale 5706, Lot 365

Ezra Mack, New York

Alain Paviot, Paris

Galerie Françoise Paviot, Paris, 2001

Literature

La Révolution Surréaliste, No. 7, 15 June 1926, p. 1

Jean Adhémar, Julien Cain, and Evelyne Pasquet, Man Ray: Exposition de l'oeuvre photographique (Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, 1962), cover

Arturo Schwarz, Man Ray: The Rigour of Imagination (Rizzoli, 1977), pl. 162 

Merry Foresta, et al., Perpetual Motif: The Art of Man Ray (National Museum of American Art, 1989), p. 253

Jean-Hubert Martin, Man Ray: Photographs (Thames and Hudson, 1982), p. 171

Janus, The Great Photographers: Man Ray (Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri, 1982), p. 37

Catalogue Note

This 1926 photograph shows Man Ray’s early experimentation with a wooden artist's mannequin, subject matter that would preoccupy him throughout his career.  In this image, Man Ray has imbued the wooden figure with a lifelike quality, first by cleverly positioning its articulated limbs, and secondly by creating the suggestion that his camera has captured the figure resting between active pursuits.  As Hans Bellmer would do in the following decade with photographs of his dolls, Man Ray uses photography to create the Surreal transposition of the inanimate and the animate.  Resting its hand, palm down, on the sphere, and turning its head away from the cone, the mannequin seems to possess an emotional dimension.  Beginning in 1947, Man Ray would ‘marry’ his mannequin to another, creating the Mr. and Mrs. Woodman series, in which the two figures are conjoined in a wide array of sexual positions.   These two mannequins can be seen in a later, more sedate, series of images dating to 1975, in which they watch a television documentary on Mayan architecture (Man Ray Photographs, pls. 211-15).

In the year of its making, this photograph was illustrated in La Révolution Surréaliste (No. 7, June 1926), André Breton’s pioneering Surrealist publication, accompanying text by Antonin Artaud entitled L’Enclume de Forces.  Years later, in 1950, Man Ray utilized this image as the basis for his oil painting, Aline et Valcour.  The painting takes its title from the Marquis de Sade novel, a favorite of Man Ray’s, published in 1795.  As in the photograph, the mannequin is the foremost feature of the painting, and looks away from a severed head encased in a bell jar (taken from another Man Ray photograph: Homage à D. A. F. de Sade, made in 1929-30). 

Sotheby’s wishes to thank Man Ray authority Steven Manford for his assistance in researching this photograph, as well as Andrew Strauss, compiler, with Timothy Baum, of the forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné of Man Ray’s paintings.   

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