MAN RAY | RAYOGRAPH
80,000 - 120,000 USD
a unique object, photogram, signed and dated in pencil on the image, annotated 'Haut,' '(Originale),' and with 'Rayogram' in pencil, and with the photographer's '31 bis, Rue Campagne Première' studio stamp (Manford M6) on the reverse, 1931
11½ by 9 in. (29.2 by 22.9 cm.)
This pleasingly warm-toned photogram, on stiff double-weight paper with a slight surface sheen, is in generally very good condition. The highlights are creamy and the darkest areas of the print are a rich, saturated black. Under close examination, the following are visible: a repaired tear at the upper right edge; several pin-point-sized rust-colored deposits in the center; two matte circular deposits and some very soft crescent-shaped scuffs near the signature; a small deposit of original retouching near the center right edge. In raking light, tiny linear impressions and a small L-shaped scratch are visible in the lower portion. A fine patina of age-appropriate silvering is visible in the darkest areas of the image when the print is examined in raking light.
The reverse is yellowed overall, presumably from adhesive from a previous mount. The photographer's studio stamp is very faint but remains legible.
When examined under ultraviolet light, this photogram does not appear to fluoresce.
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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Galerie Fey & Nothelfer, Berlin
Galleria Milano, Milan, 1970
Private collection, Milan
Christie's London, 1 November 2005, Sale 7141, Lot 22
Angela Madesani, La fotografia tra le due guerre (Galleria Milano, 1996), no. 66
Le Arti della Fotografia (Varese: Museo d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, 1998), p. 47
Emmanuelle de l'Ecotais, Man Ray: Rayographies (Paris, 2002), pp. 145, 257, cat. 223, reproduced upside down
Milan, Galleria Milano, Man Ray: disegni, Rayografie, fotografie, incisioni, edizioni numerate, duecentoventi opere: 1912-1971, June 1971
Milan, Galleria Milano, La fotografia tra le due guerre, 1996
Varese, Museo d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Le Arti della Fotografia, 1998
Like many of Man Ray’s experiments with the photogram, the layered, sophisticated Rayograph offered here defies easy interpretation. To create this graphic and almost three-dimensional image it is likely that Man Ray employed separate exposures. A sea of spots, possibly sequins, cascades across the luminous orb dominating the image. The mysterious silhouette of a bird-like figure anchors the lower portion. Has the inventive Man Ray drawn in the darkroom an avian embryo waiting to be hatched? In Man Ray Rayographies, Emmanuelle de l’Ecotais reproduces a series of Rayographs made circa 1929-30 that seem to depict this evolution (cf. cat. 224-226). Whether the spontaneous product of scattering objects at random onto the photographic paper or a thoughtfully conceived darkroom arrangement, this Rayograph demonstrates the dazzling possibilities of the photogram in the masterful hands of Man Ray.
While Man Ray had largely shifted his attention to other areas of photographic interest by 1930 – especially in the realms of solarization and fashion – and had accelerated his devotion to his lifelong love of painting and drawing, it was in 1931 (the year the present unique Rayograph was created) that he released Electricité (see Lot 95), a portfolio of one of his most celebrated series of photograms. In them Man Ray demonstrates all the technological skill and spatial innovation he brought to the process since he began his first photogram experiments in the early 1920s.
A related Rayograph, formerly in the collection of Arnold Crane, is now in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum (84.XM.1000.62).