Lot 9
  • 9

Man Ray

50,000 - 70,000 USD
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  • Man Ray
  • Gelatin silver print
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


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


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


This impressive large print is on warm-toned double-weight paper with a matte surface. There is age-appropriate silvering in the print's dark areas. There is a small quarter-inch crease in the lower left corner that breaks the emulsion slightly. There is general light wear on the edges and corners, and a small portion of the lower right corner is missing. Despite these minor condition issues, this beautifully-rendered print retains all of its considerable impact.This photograph bears on its verso Man Ray's 'Man Ray, Paris Ve, 8, Rue du Val-de-Grace, Téléph. Danton 92-25' studio stamp. According to Man Ray authority Steven Manford, Man Ray was at this address between the summer of 1935 and the spring of 1937. This print may have been made by Man ray in the 1920s, close to the time of the negative, and stamped by him in the subsequent decade during the relatively brief period he was at the Rue du Val-de-Grace address. Or, the print could have been made by him during his Val-de-Grace years.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

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.