Lot 100
  • 100

Man Ray

80,000 - 120,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Man Ray
  • 'Torso (Lama [sic] Sheath)'
  • gelatin silver print
  • 11 1/2  by 8 7/8  in. (29.2 by 22.5 cm.)
titled in pencil and with the photographer's '31 bis, Rue Campagne Première Paris XIV' studio stamp (Manford M28) on the reverse, framed, 1929


Knoedler Kasmin, Ltd., London

Private Collection

Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

Private Collection 

Acquired from the above


London, Knoedler Kasmin, Ltd., Man Ray: The Artist as Photographer (and Warrior, as well), December 1981

London, Serpentine Gallery, Man Ray, January-March 1995


Man Ray (London: Serpentine Gallery, 1995), unpaginated (this print)

Man Ray Photographies 1920-1934 Paris (James Thrall Soby, 1934), pl. 37

A. D. Coleman, ed., Man Ray: Photographs 1920-34 (New York, 1975), pl. 37 (New Edition of the 1934 book)

Janus, Man Ray: The Photographic Image (New York, 1980), pl. 95

Willis Hartshorn and Merry Foresta, Man Ray in Fashion (New York: International Center of Photography, 1990), p. 68

Emmanuelle de l'Ecotais and Alain Sayag, eds., Man Ray: Photography and Its Double (Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou - Musée National d'Art Moderne, 1998), p. 158

Marina Vanci-Perahim, Great Modern Masters: Man Ray (New York, 1998), pl. 49

Man Ray: Paris Photographs 1920-34 (New York, 2000), pl. 37 (New Edition of the 1934 book)

Emmanuelle de l'Ecotais and Katherine Ware, Man Ray. 1890-1976 (Cologne, 2000), p. 58

Photographies de Man Ray (Tokyo, 2002), pl. 137

Catalogue Note

In 1934, Man Ray selected Torso (Lama [sic] Sheath) for inclusion in Man Ray Photographies 1920-1934 Paris, a survey of his most important images from those prolific years.  Published by James Thrall Soby, an American critic, collector, and close friend, Man Ray Photographies 1920-1934 Paris was Man Ray's first monograph.  More than 100 photographs and Rayographs were illustrated with complimentary poetry and essays by leading figures of the Dada and Surrealist movements, including André Breton, Tristan Tzara, and Marcel Duchamp, contributing in the guise of his alter-ego Rrose Selavy. 

As with Solarized Male Nude (Lot 99), the present image is the result of deliberate cropping of a larger negative.  The head and legs, both visible in the original negative, are here edited out, leaving only the sculpted form of a body sheathed in lamé fabric.  The eroticization and fetishization of the deconstructed body explored here by Man Ray was a topic common among the Surrealists, who often 'removed' parts of the body to decontextualize the female form.

The present image is one of 18 photographs in ‘Anatomies,’ the second chapter of the 1934 monograph, which explores fragmentation of the female form.  Although Torso (Lama [sic] Sheath) is the only photograph in the chapter featuring a 'clothed' female figure, it is no less provocative and masterfully composed than the first image in the chapter, a highly abstract and sensual view of Lee Miller’s neck and chin.

Prints of the present image are exceedingly rare. At the time of this writing, only one other early print has been located: the print used for reproduction in Man Ray Photographies 1920-1934 Paris, now in the collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.  A slight variant cropping, it is there titled ‘Anatomie’ and dated ‘1929.’  The negative, titled ‘Étude pour Anatomies’ and dated circa 1930, is in the photographer’s archive at the Centre Pompidou.  The presence of the Manford M28 posthumous stamp on the reverse suggests that the present print was in Man Ray's possession until his death.