Lot 41
  • 41

MAN RAY | Astrolabe

30,000 - 50,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Man Ray
  • Astrolabe
  • inscribed Man Ray, titled, inscribed It's a small world (Hang at eye level, look through glass) and numbered 1/10
  • brass, copper, painted steel and magnifying glass
  • height: 64.5cm.
  • 25 3/8 in.
  • Conceived in 1957 and cast in 1964 in an edition of 10.


Private Collection, Milan Sale: Aste Boetto, Genova, 21st April 2015, lot 177

Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


Man Ray, Ogetti d'affezione, Turin, 1970, fig. 88, original object illustrated Arturo Schwarz, Man Ray, The Rigour of Imagination, London, 1977, no. 345, original object illustrated p. 220

Jean-Hubert Martin, Rosalind Krauss & Brigitte Hermann, Man Ray: Objets de mon affection. Sculptures et objets catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1983, no. 125, original object illustrated p. 100

Catalogue Note

Conceived in 1957, the year in which Sputnik 1 was launched, Astrolabe celebrates artistic innovation through an exceptional work that amalgamates art with geometry, mathematics and science. Through a complex assembly of wooden half-circles and circles, rotating elaborately around a reduction lens, Man Ray reverses the function of this astronomical instrument. Rather than measuring the exact height of the stars, his own Astrolabe gives the viewer a misleading perspective of the room in which the spectator stands. Cleverly employing optical illusion, a technique typical of the artist, Man Ray presents a reductive vision of his own galaxy in which the logical element of his work is instead its subjective nature.

Andrew Strauss and Timothy Baum of the Man Ray Expertise Committee have confirmed the authenticity of this work and that it will be included in the Catalogue of the Objects and Sculpture of Man Ray, currently in preparation.