MAN RAY (Emmanuel Radnitsky, dit) 1890-1976

Lot 45
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MAN RAY (Emmanuel Radnitsky, dit) 1890-1976

Henry D. Thoreau, photograph taken in 1958 by Man Ray from the 1861 ambrotype. Photograph. Silver print from the period, annotated in pencil on the back. Accidents. Image: 30.3 x 24 cm; sheet: 35 x 29.5 cm. Provenance: Gift of Man Ray to Madame Renée Lemaître, by descent. The negative of this image is kept in the collections of the Musée national d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris.

MAN RAY

Collection of Madame Renée Lemaître

In 1963, the Benjamin Franklin Library, part of the American Embassy, organized exhibitions in the windows overlooking the Place de l'Odéon in Paris. Man Ray, who lived next door to the library, came as a neighbour and took part in these events by lending his large-print typewriter to write the labels. Following the exhibition "The Masters of American Photography", he gave six rayograms to the person in charge of the exhibitions, Renée Lemaître, who had become a friend and with whom he liked to discuss American literature.

The exhibition organised on the Transcendentalists gave a large place to Henry David Thoreau, one of Man Ray's favourite authors, who offered to do his portrait. Of course, Thoreau had died in 1862, but he started with an ambrotype which he recontrasted, reframed, and managed to make a modern and evocative portrait of the famous philosopher. This portrait was used for an exhibition and an educational publication of the Freinet movement in June 1975. The negative is kept in the Man Ray collection at the Centre Pompidou.

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