Born Emmanuel Radnitsky in Philadelphia in 1890, Man Ray was raised in New York, where he began his artistic career. He was a regular at Alfred Stieglitz’s Gallery 291, and attended classes at the Ferrer Centre before meeting Marcel Duchamp, who was to become a lifelong friend and collaborator. With Duchamp, Man Ray founded the Society of Independent Artists in 1916 and published the pamphlet New York Dada in 1920. In the same year the artist created his famous readymade The enigma of Isidore Ducasse, followed in 1921 by Cadeau, both of which feature in the National Gallery’s collection.

In 1921 Man Ray relocated to Paris. It was here, among the artists of the bohemian Montparnasse district, that he began to work in the Surrealist style of photography for which he is best known. In 1966 Man Ray created two screen prints and a lithograph at Gemini GEL after visiting the studio out of interest while setting up his retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The three screen prints Untitled, Hands, and One hand, are based on the artist’s signature ‘rayograms’.
Emilie Owens

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Further information will be added to this site as the National Gallery proceeds with its research and documentation.

Last updated January 2017