Lot 8
  • 8

Man Ray

25,000 - 35,000 EUR
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Man Ray
  • Pablo Picasso, 1932
  • Silver print. Stamped posthumously 'Man Ray 31 bis, Rue Campagne Première Paris XIVe' and with the copyright stamp ADAGP on the reverse.
  • photograph
  • 29.2 by 22.6 cm, 11 ½ by 8 ⅞ in
Picasso, 1932
Silver gelatin print
11 1/2h x 8 3/4w inches

Estimate: €25,000 - 35,000


West Palm Beach, 1994, no. 71, p. 19
Madrid, Paris & Berlin, 2007-10, p. 95
Tokyo, 2010, no. 72


Man Ray Photographs, 1934, p. 77
Copley, 1963, p. 19
Tokyo, 1990-91, vol. 1, p. 69
Tokyo, 2002, p. 151
Cologne, 2008, p. 119


This print is in very good general condition. The lower left corner with a tiny fold. With very light random foxing and with a very light trace of scratch near the centre visible in raking light only.
"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. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

The present lot and lot 52 present two examples of photographs drawn from Man Ray’s legendary series of portraits of Picasso. Picasso reciprocated with an ink portrait of Man Ray. They were arguably the two most prolific artists of the twentieth century in terms of numbers of works they each created and more importantly, they were both extraordinarily dextrous in a wide range of techniques and each was a perpetual experimenter in search of fresh points of departure for their creativity. Man Ray photographed Picasso more than any other artist. They became close friends, spending holidays together in the 1930s and 1950s (see lot 207).

Man Ray’s 1932 series of portraits was made at a time great triumph for Picasso’s public career that overshadowed the sustained difficulties he was experiencing in his married life. That year saw the artist’s first major retrospective exhibition take place at the established Galeries Georges Petit, Paris and travelled on to the Kunsthaus in Zurich, his first important museum show. During the summer, Christian Zervos, publisher of the art journal Cahiers d’Art, compiled and published the first volume of Picasso’s catalogue raisonné, reflecting the crucial position Picasso’s work now occupied in the French artistic establishment.

Man Ray earliest photograph of Picasso, published in Vanity Fair in July 1922 “showed the intense, intransigent look of the man, his black eyes sizing one up … Picasso gave me the impression of a man who was aware of all that was going on about him and in the world in general, a man who reacted violently to all impacts, but had only one outlet to express his feelings: painting.” (Self Portrait, 1988, p. 177). Man Ray was a masterful portraitist, capable of capturing his subject’s personality in even the briefest of sittings. Yet, these first portraits of Picasso were made at a time when Man Ray was developing new concepts of photography, most notably his Rayographs, camerless photographs. Picasso was particularly struck by the Rayographs, for “he confessed that he had not felt such an emotional response to art for many years … painting is dead, finished.” (Man Ray quoted by Maurice Raynal, “En photographiant les photographes”, L’Intransigeant, 1 April 1930, p. 5).

This portrait from the 1932 series was selected for Man Ray’s seminal 1934 album that comprised his most important photographs to date. In turn Picasso agreed to do Man Ray’s own portrait for the publication. The ink drawing was completed in just under an hour on 3 January 1934 in Picasso’s studio, where it was so cold that Man Ray refused to take off his winter coat (Picasso also wore a rain coat for his 1932 sitting for Man Ray).

Man Ray’s 1932 portraits of Picasso are among the most celebrated photographic portraits of the Spaniard. These portraits are direct and personal, depicting Picasso in a reflective and sober mood, with Man Ray perfectly capturing the artist’s personal turmoil at the time of the breakdown of his marriage with Olga and his blossoming affair with Marie-Thérèse Walter.