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MAN RAY (1890–1976)
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MAN RAY (1890–1976)

dadaphoto, 1920

Details
MAN RAY (1890–1976)
dadaphoto, 1920
gelatin silver print
printer's notations in pencil/blue pencil (verso); credited, titled 'DADA MANNEQUIN' and dated on affixed gallery label (frame backing board)
image/sheet: 4 3/4 x 2 1/2 in. (12 x 6.3 cm.)
Provenance
The estate of the artist;
acquired from the above by Robert Miller Gallery, New York, 1982-1983;
acquired from the above by the present owner, 1984.
Literature
Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp, New York Dada, April 1921.
Janus, Man Ray L'Immagine Fotografica, La Biennale di Venezia, 1977, pl. 11 (variant).
Jean-Hubret Martin et al., Man Ray Photographs, Thames and Hudson, New York, 1982, p. 18 (variant).
Exhibition catalogue, Perpetual Motif: The Art of Man Ray, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., 1988, fig. 18, p. 25.
Exhibition catalogue, Man Ray: 1870–1976, Ronny Van de Velde, Antwerp, 1994, cat. no. 2, p. 31 (variant).
Rudolf Kicken (ed.), Man Ray: 1870–1976, Hirmer, Munich, 1996, pl. 13 (variant).
Emmanuelle de l’Ecotais and Alain Sayag (ed.), Man Ray: Photography and its Double, Gingko Press, Corte Madera, California, 1998, p. 210 (variant).
Exhibition catalogue, Man Ray: La photographie à l'envers, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1998, p. 13 (variant).
Exhibition catalogue, Man Ray: Unconcerned But Not Indifferent, Museo d'arte provincia di Nuoro Silvana, 2008, p. 106 (variant).
Mason Klein, Alias Man Ray: The Art of Reinvention, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2009, fig. 60, p. 56 (variant).
Exhibition catalogue, Man Ray, Museo d'Arte della Città di Lugano, Switzerland, 2011, pl. 226, pl. 214, p. 193 (variant).
Mitra Abbaspour et al, Object Photo: Modern Photographs: The Thomas Walther Collection 1909-1949, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2014, fig. 1, p. 20.
Special Notice

On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.

Lot Essay

Whenever I deviated from orthodox practice it was simply because the subject demanded a new approach; I applied or invented techniques for emphasis of the points that seemed important. Only superficial critics could accuse me of trickiness; if ever I had any doubts of the value of my departure from the norm, such criticism convinced me that what I was doing was valid, that I was on the right track. --Man Ray

While variants of this image by Man Ray are commonly known as Portmanteau or Coat Stand, the present version, with the censorial white rectangle, appeared in the artist's 1921 journal, New York Dada, published in collaboration with Marcel Duchamp. In Merry Foresta's catalogue introduction for the 1989 exhibition, Perpetual Motif: The Art of Man Ray, Foresta contextualizes the image's appearance in the dada journal:

Published in April 1921 in collaboration with Duchamp, New York Dada featured a letter from [Tristan] Tzara applauding the transatlantic extension of the movement. Illustrating this 'preface' was a graphic admonition to 'Keep Smiling' and Man Ray's image of a human coatstand labeled dadaphoto. In lieu of a personal credit line, Man Ray chose a more universal, though distinctly American-sounding, tag for his work: Trademark Reg. Thus did he stake out his territory: the photomechanical reproduction of his photograph of an ephemeral object--a mix of nude and painted display manikin--simultaneously covered all media, while giving none precedence. Although later in Paris it would appropriately be titled Portmanteau, for this occasion it was most definitely a dada-photo, neither identifiable nor exact, linking the image, and Man Ray, with a kind of art that could be many things for many purposes (Merry Foresta, Perpetual Motif, pp. 24-25).

The present lot is reproduced at 1:1 scale in the 1921 New York Dada referred to above, and bears inscriptions and inch markings on the verso that point to this being the object used by Man Ray for reproduction purposes. It is a small, potent example of Man Ray's lasting influence over the last 100 years.

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