Man Ray - Photographs New York Thursday, April 8, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Man Ray, Self Portrait, p. 176
    Manford, Behind the Photo: The Stamps of Man Ray, n.p., for stamp

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask “how,” while others of a more curious nature will ask “why.” Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.’ May Ray, Modern Photography, November 1957, p. 85

    This photograph showcases the intensely inventive nature of May Ray’s approach to image making, as well as his practice of revisiting and reworking older material. Man Ray met Picasso in the 1920s, and the two artists quickly became friends. He wrote: ‘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, p, 177). The intensity and awareness that Man Ray describes is very much present in the portrait offered here.

    Man Ray spent the war years in Hollywood where he embarked on a number of creative and commercial projects. It was during this time that he revisited this 1932 portrait of Picasso, introducing a layer of translucent textured material between the negative and photographic paper in the darkroom. The exposing light was filtered through this material, imparting a textural pattern to the image. What had always been a strong portrait becomes, in Man Ray’s re-working, an even more powerful Surrealist tour-de-force depicting one of the great artists of the 20th century..

    This is one of three known artist portraits that Man Ray reworked in a similar fashion during his Hollywood sojourn. The others are his portraits Joan Miro and Juan Gris. Man Ray made no more than two or three prints of each.


Pablo Picasso

Gelatin silver print, printed through a textured translucent layer, circa 1948.
9 x 7 in. (22.9 x 17.8 cm)
'Photograph by Man Ray' (Manford M23) and reduction notations in an unidentified hand in crayon on the verso.

$30,000 - 40,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairman, Americas



New York Auction 8 April 2021