Thursday, November 24, 2011

Biography: The Life of Man Ray

Man Ray, born August 27, 1890 as Emmanuel Radnitzsky, grew up in South Philadelphia and is most popularly known for his modern art primarily throughout New York and Paris. The major movements his work has been attributed to are mainly Dadaism and Surrealism. He considered himself a painter mostly, although many of his works were done using photography.

In his early life, Man Ray was born into a family of recent Russian Jewish immigrants whom decided to change their surname from 'Radnitzsky' to 'Ray' in response to the severe anti-Semitism and discrimination they felt during that time. In light of his recent name change, Man Ray decided to change his first name as well to "Man" which is how his now commonly known artist name 'Man Ray' came about.

As a child, Man Ray displayed many artistic abilities early on throughout his school career. His education gave him significant practice for his fundamental art skills, but he recurrently made visits to many art museums in his free time to study the works. After graduating high school, Man Ray decided he wanted to pursue his skills as an artist instead of going to college, and that he did. For four years he painted in his parents home, while simultaneously doing work on the side to earn extra money. The work done during this period was mostly drawings and paintings in a very 19th-century style.

Man Rays early paintings while living in New York City were full of movement and many notes of cubism. His first solo show was in 1915 and his first dive into photography production in 1918. Shortly after, Man Ray got heavily involved with the Dada movement and began experimenting with new and unique ways of making his art by combining photographic images. Unconventional materials such as tacks, glass and cloth were also utilized by Man Ray in the makings of some of his pieces.

In 1921, Man Ray ventured to Paris for his work. While here, he met Kiki de Montparnasse, whom he fell in love with and used as inspiration for many of his most famous works of art such as the Violon d'Ingres. Shortly after, he began seeing Lee Miller; a Surrealist photographer whom also became his photography assistant.

In his later years, Man Ray moved back to the states after WWII, residing in Los Angeles for about 11 years where he met and married Juliet Browner, a Rumanian-Jewish dancer and artist model. Shortly after, Man Ray returned back to Paris where he later died of a lung infection (1976).

"An original is a creation motivated by desire. Any reproduction of an originals motivated by necessity. It is marvelous that we are the only species that creates gratuitous forms. To create is divine, to reproduce is human."-Man Ray

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