Man Ray

Man Ray (1890-1976) has been referred to as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century due to his impact in a variety of media and movements, as well as his innovation in avant-garde photography.

Born Emmanuel Radnitzky in South Philadelphia, the family changed their name to ‘Ray’ in reaction to Anti-Semitism in 1912 and the artist took his nickname ‘Manny’ and combined it with the new surname to become Man Ray; throughout his career he was very reluctant to discuss any aspect of his family history. His early education focused on art and his work showed intense development while at the Ferrer School. His early work from New York shows facets of cubism and a significant connection with Duchamp led to investigations in Dadaism, as well as kinetic art. Many of Ray’s significant developments in photography took place in Montparnesse from the 1920s to 1940s. His first Surrealist works were exhibited in Paris in 1925. Ray worked with his assistant Lee Miller to invent his technique of solarization. He returned to the US briefly, but returned to Montparnesse where he died of a lung infection in 1976.