Marilyn Minter - Photographs New York Wednesday, April 6, 2022 | Phillips

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  • "I thought it was time for women to make images for their own amusement and pleasure." —Marilyn Minter

    Simultaneously working in both painting and photography, Marilyn Minter has, over the last 50 years, created a bold visual lexicon that is uniquely her own. While the overtly erotic and seductive imagery that she is known for may appear to contradict her feminist roots, it is instead a simple assertion that no subject is off-limits for women artists. 
    Minter’s photo-realist paintings of the last three decades have largely been based on her own photographs, but the enamel-on-metal painting offered here was created in 1994 when she was working with images culled from mass media. It was also a time when she was increasingly inspired by the photographic process, with all its opportunities and limitations. It is thus no surprise that Man Ray became a reference point. Based on his photograph of Lee Miller’s lips from 1930, which he used as the source image for his famous painting Observatory Time: The Lovers, 1934, this painting marked a turning point in Minter’s work when she began to focus on tightly framed details of the female body. In an essay about her new work from the early 2000s, Joshua Shirkey, assistant curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, noted, “Her images echo an abstract, fragmented way of looking at the body that developed as a consequence of the medium's mechanical characteristics – particularly framing and focal length – and that existed as early as the 1920s in the surrealist photography of Man Ray and Jacques-Andre Boiffard.” Indeed, Minter’s engagement with Man Ray not only opened the door for her artistically but allowed for an exploration of the photographic process through painting. 


    The source image as illustrated in Photographs by Man Ray: 1920 Paris 1934
    • Provenance

      White Columns, New York 1995


One Half Man Ray

Enamel on metal.
23 3/4 x 23 3/4 in. (60.3 x 60.3 cm)
Signed, titled and dated in ink on the verso.

Full Cataloguing

$15,000 - 25,000 

Sold for $31,500

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 6 April 2022