About us
Man Ray Photo

Man Ray

American Photographer, Sculptor, Painter, and Filmmaker

Movements and Styles: Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, Futurism

Born: August 27, 1890 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Died: November 18, 1976 - Paris, France

Man Ray Timeline

Quotes

"To create is divine, to reproduce is human."
Man Ray
"I paint what cannot be photographed, that which comes from the imagination or from dreams, or from an unconscious drive. I photograph the things that I do not wish to paint, the things which already have an existence."
Man Ray
"A camera alone does not make a picture. To make a picture you need a camera, a photographer and above all a subject. It is the subject that determines the interest of the photograph."
Man Ray
"A creator needs only one enthusiast to justify him."
Man Ray
"I would photograph an idea rather than an object, a dream rather than an idea."
Man Ray
"It has never been my object to record my dreams, just the determination to realize them."
Man Ray
"Don't put my name on it. These are simply documents I make."
Man Ray
"Regardless of the form in which it is ultimately presented, the object is intended to amuse, encourage, bore, be thought-provoking, but never to arouse admiration for the technical perfection usually called for by a work of art. I say, the world is full of extraordinary craftsmen, but there are only a few practical dreamers"
Man Ray

"Nature does not create works of art. It is we, and the faculty of interpretation peculiar to the human mind, that see art."

Man Ray Signature

Synopsis

Man Ray's career is distinctive above all for the success he achieved in both the United States and Europe. First maturing in the center of American modernism in the 1910s, he made Paris his home in the 1920s and 1930s, and in the 1940s he crossed the Atlantic once again, spending periods in New York and Hollywood. His art spanned painting, sculpture, film, prints and poetry, and in his long career he worked in styles influenced by Cubism, Futurism, Dada and Surrealism. He also successfully navigated the worlds of commercial and fine art, and came to be a sought-after fashion photographer. He is perhaps most remembered for his photographs of the inter-war years, in particular the camera-less pictures he called 'Rayographs', but he always regarded himself first and foremost as a painter.

Key Ideas

Although he matured as an abstract painter, Man Ray eventually disregarded the traditional superiority painting held over photography and happily moved between different forms. Dada and Surrealism were important in encouraging this attitude; they also persuaded him that the idea motivating a work of art was more important than the work of art itself.
For Man Ray, photography often operated in the gap between art and life. It was a means of documenting sculptures that never had an independent life outside the photograph, and it was a means of capturing the activities of his avant-garde friends. His work as a commercial photographer encouraged him to create fine, carefully composed prints, but he would never aspire to be a fine art photographer in the manner of his early inspiration, Alfred Stieglitz.
André Breton once described Man Ray as a 'pre-Surrealist', something which accurately describes the artist's natural affinity for the style. Even before the movement had coalesced, in the mid 1920s, his work, influenced by Marcel Duchamp, had Surrealist undertones, and he would continue to draw on the movement's ideas throughout his life. His work has ultimately been very important in popularizing Surrealism.

Biography

Man Ray Photo

Childhood

Man Ray was born as Emmanuel Radnitzky in 1890 to a Russian-Jewish immigrant family in Philadelphia. His tailor father and seamstress mother soon relocated the family to the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, where Ray spent most of his childhood. His family changed their surname to Ray due to the fear of anti-Semitism. His name evolved to Man Ray after shortening his nickname, Manny, to Man. He kept his family background secret for most of his career, though the influence of his parents' occupations is evident in many of his works.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Man Ray Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Man Ray
Interactive chart with Man Ray's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Paul CézannePaul Cézanne
Auguste RodinAuguste Rodin
Henri MatisseHenri Matisse

Personal Contacts

Marcel DuchampMarcel Duchamp
Francis PicabiaFrancis Picabia
Pablo PicassoPablo Picasso
Salvador DalíSalvador Dalí
Alfred StieglitzAlfred Stieglitz

Movements

CubismCubism
DadaDada
SurrealismSurrealism

Influences on Artist
Man Ray
Man Ray
Years Worked: 1915 - 1976
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Bill BrandtBill Brandt
Andy WarholAndy Warhol
László Moholy-NagyLászló Moholy-Nagy
Irving PennIrving Penn
Richard AvedonRichard Avedon

Personal Contacts

Marcel DuchampMarcel Duchamp

Movements

Pop ArtPop Art
Conceptual ArtConceptual Art
Modern PhotographyModern Photography

If you see an error or typo, please:
tell us
Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Jin Jung

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Jin Jung
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
Available from:
[Accessed ]