Man Ray, born Emmanuel Radnitzky in Philadelphia, was a prolific Dadist and pioneer of Surrealism, producing photographs, paintings, films, assemblages, objects, and poems during a sixty-year career. Early on he frequented Alfred Steiglitz’s famous 291 Gallery in New York, and began a life-long collaboration with Marcel Duchamp. After moving to Paris in 1921, Man Ray became associated with the Surrealists, while pursuing a successful commercial career that integrated his photographic experiments with solarization and photogram techniques (which he called “rayographs”) with portrait and fashion photography. Throughout the 1930s, his work appeared regularly in surrealist journals such as Littérature and Minotaure, as well as mainstream publications like Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair and Vogue. Man Ray was widely recognized for his photographic achievements during his lifetime, as one of the first artists to make photographs that were seen as equal in importance to painting and sculpture. Ever the quintessential modernist, Man Ray continued to photograph, paint and make objects thoughout his life.
In 1940, Man Ray sought refuge from the war in Hollywood, and upon returning to Paris in 1951, turned his attention to painting.