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Pisces was based on an image from Les Mains libres (Free Hands), a suite of drawings that Man Ray published with poems by Paul Eluard in 1937. ‘In these drawings my hands are dreaming’, he later remarked. The woman lies alongside a fish to create what the artist described as ‘a contrasting of similar and different forms at the same time’. Man Ray strengthened the identification of woman and fish by choosing Pisces, the zodiac sign of paired fishes, as the English title.

July 2008