MAN RAY (1890-1976)
MAN RAY (1890-1976)
MAN RAY (1890-1976)
MAN RAY (1890-1976)
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On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more Visionary: The Paul G. Allen Collection
MAN RAY (1890-1976)

Swedish Landscape, 1925

MAN RAY (1890-1976)
Swedish Landscape, 1925
unique gelatin silver print
signed and dated 'Man Ray 1925' in ink (lower right image); signed and dated 'Man Ray 25' in pencil (lower right mount, recto); signed, dated and titled 'Swedish Landscape / Man Ray / Paris 1925' in ink, stamped photographer's credit 'MAN RAY / 31 Bis Rue / Campagne / Première studio / Paris' in red ink and 'ORIGINAL' in black ink (lower right on the reverse); annotated 'Top' in pencil by the artist (top center on the reverse); signed, dated, titled and annotated 'Swedish Landscape / Man Ray 1925 / ORIGINAL' in pencil (on the reverse of the mount); credited, titled, and dated on affixed gallery labels (frame backing board)
image/sheet: 9 1/4 x 11 5/8 in. (23.4 x 29.5 cm.)
mount: 19 x 15 7/8 in. (48.2 x 40.3 cm.)
The artist.
Leo W. Farland, publisher and distributor of art posters, New York City (a gift from the above, 1960s); sale Sotheby’s Parke Bernet, New York, 19-20 May 1980, lot 256.
The Weston Gallery Carmel California.
Southland Corporation (later, ‘7-Eleven, Inc.’); sale, Photographs from the Collection of 7-Eleven, Inc., Sotheby’s, New York, 5 April 2000, lot 26.
Acquired at the above sale by the late owner.
New York, Kimmel/Cohn Photography Art, Man Ray: Vintage Photographs, Solarizations and Rayographs, December 14, 1976-January 12, 1977, pl. 96.
New York, Kimmel/Cohn Photography Arts, Man Ray: Poet of the Darkroom, 1977, cat. no. 96.
W. Gräff, Es kommt der Neue Fotograf!, Cologne, 1978, p. 48.
Carmel, Weston Gallery, Catalogue II, 1982 pl. 53.
E. de L'Ecotais, Man Ray: Rayographies, Paris, 2002, pl. 141, p. 235.
New York, Kimmel/Cohn Photography Arts, Man Ray: Vintage Photographs, Solarizations and Rayographs, December 14, - January 12, 1977.
Carmel, Weston Gallery, Catalogue II, 1982.
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.

Brought to you by

Max Carter
Max Carter Vice Chairman, 20th and 21st Century Art, Americas

Lot Essay

This unique work is among the noteworthy successes of Man Ray’s experiments in making photographic images without a camera—images that he christened "Rayographs" in 1922. His inspired explorations generated some of the most radical, mysterious, and compelling works in the history of the medium. While the majority of his Rayographs present ghostly abstractions or suggest eccentric still life subjects, “Swedish Landscape” is a rare example that bears a specific and unexpected title, inscribed by the artist on both the reverse of the print and on the mount. While seeming to identify this surprising subject, the title, typically for Man Ray, serves rather to deepen than to clarify the enigma of the composition. This Rayograph is notable also in that it was used by the artist as the basis of a 1924–1925 oil-on-canvas painting, titled in French “Paysage Suédois.”

Rayographs were made in the darkroom by placing selected objects on a sheet of photo-sensitized paper. When exposed to light and according to the direction and diffusion of that light source, the shapes of the objects would be registered in intriguing ways on the paper. Once developed and fixed, and depending on the relative opacity or transparency of the objects chosen and the way light may have refracted through them, strange forms, distortions, and shadows in a nuanced range of tonalities are made visible. As there is no negative involved, the technique yields a unique photographic print.

While justly acknowledged as an innovation, Man Ray’s camera-less works in fact take us back to the beginnings of photography in the 1830s, notably to the pioneering experiments of William Henry Fox Talbot in England and Hippolyte Bayard in France. Talbot’s “photogenic drawings,” as he called them, were the first crucial step in his formal invention of photography, announced in 1839. Regarding his own discovery of this process, Man Ray wrote in his memoir, Self Portrait, “I remembered when I was a boy, placing fern leaves in a printing frame with proof paper, exposing it to sunlight and obtaining a white negative of the leaves.” Poet Tristan Tzara, the first associate with whom Man Ray shared his achievement, was enthusiastic about the concept, acknowledging these works, according to Man Ray, as “pure dada creations.” Tzara described “projections, surprised in transparency, in the light of tenderness, of dreaming objects that are walking in their sleep.” (quoted in N. Baldwin, Man Ray, London, 1989, p. 97).

It is likely that the present Rayograph was exhibited at the 1929 Stuttgart exhibition “Film und Foto”, as Werner Gräff's Es kommt derNeue Fotograf!, an anthology of a selection of the pictures shown at the landmark exhibition, includes a reproduction of “Swedish Landscape”.

The Rayograph was given by Man Ray to his friend Leo Farland of New York City in the 1960s. It re-emerged in 2000 when purchased by the late owner in the historic New York auction of The Collection of 7-Eleven, Inc.

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