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Man Ray and the Magic Man

Man Ray, Lames (Tears) 1930-32.

Man Ray (American, 1890-1976) Larmes (Tears) 1930-32. Gelatin silver print. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. © Man Ray Trust/ADAGP-Paris/ARS-USA, 2000


Man Ray and the Magic Man

February 5, 2013

When Antony Penrose’s father, the British Surrealist artist Roland Penrose and biographer of Man Ray, made his collage titled Homage to Man Ray (1976), he included the penciled wording HOM MAGE, a pun in French which can be translated as Magic Man. Roland knew that in his photography Man Ray magically transformed light into wonderful Surrealist images, and in his objects every day things became visual puns, sometimes sinister, sometimes funny, but always provocative.

Man Ray and Penrose’s mother Lee Miller had been lovers in their youth and their love endured as a deep friendship. Together in Paris in the heyday of Surrealism they discovered the technique of solarisation which became the hallmark of their artistic association. Their collaboration produced some of the most striking images in Man Ray’s whole oeuvre and it was Man Ray who in turn helped Lee Miller to become a Surrealist photographer in her own right.

Antony Penrose is the son of Lee Miller and Roland Penrose. He is a writer and director the Lee Miller Archives and The Penrose Collection.

Generously supported by Penny Rubinoff

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