painter, photographer and film-maker
After taking classes at the Francisco Ferrer Social Center, Man Ray – pseudonym of Emmanuel Radnitsky – spends time at an artist’s colony in Ridgefield, New Jersey, before setting up his studio in New York City. There he comes in contact with the European avant-garde, particularly in visits to the 291 gallery, directed by Alfred Stieglitz, and the Armory Show of 1913. His works from this period alternate between painting and collage. In 1915, he meets Marcel Duchamp, whose oeuvre he was already well conversant with, and the two artists would come to forge a lifelong friendship. In 1918 Man Ray starts working with photography, and in 1920 he and Duchamp found a dada group in New York. A year later the American leaves for Paris, and forms ties with surrealist circles there. In 1922, he develops a variant of the photogram and dubs it the 'Rayograph'. He wins commissions to photograph for top magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, while at the same time taking innumerable portraits of his surrealist friends. In 1934, he makes his Surrealist chessboard, a photomontage integrating portraits of twenty fellow surrealists, including René Magritte, with as well Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, Giorgio de Chirico, Joan Miró and Man Ray himself. He leaves for Los Angeles during WWII, returning for good to Paris in 1951.