Artist biography

Man Ray 1890-1976

American painter, maker of Surrealist objects and photographer. Born in Philadelphia. Worked in an advertising office and then part-time as draughtsman for publishers of books on engineering, atlases and maps. Attended life-drawing classes at the Ferrer Center, New York, under George Bellows in 1912. After seeing the Armory Show in 1913, began to paint in a Cubist style. Met Duchamp in 1915 and collaborated with him in initiating a proto-Dada movement in New York. First one-man exhibition at the Daniel Gallery, New York, 1915. Began to make abstract paintings in 1916, with flat forms and vivid colours, and also experimented with airbrush paintings and sculpture-objects. Moved to Paris in 1921 and was introduced by Duchamp to Breton and his circle. Participated in the Dada and Surrealist movements with paintings, assemblage-objects and photographs. Mainly active for some years as portrait and fashion photographer, and as pioneer of new photographic techniques such as rayographs and solarizations. Painted regularly again from the mid 1930s, at first in an illusionistic style inspired by de Chirico and Magritte. Spent 1940-51 in the USA, living in Hollywood, then in 1951 returned to Paris. Died in Paris.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.477