MAN RAY (1890-1976)
Untitled, Cannes, 1924
gelatin silver print
inscribed 'À Francis Picabia en grande Vitesse, Man Ray, Cannes, 1924' in pencil (on the recto)
image: 4 3/8 x 6¼in. (11.2 x 21cm.)
sheet: 5 x 6 7/8in. (12.8 x 17.5cm.)
From the artist;
to Francis Picabia;
by bequest to the Picabia Family;
with Timothy Baum, New York
La Révolution Surréaliste, no. 2, 15 January 1925, p. 30; Francis Picabia, Francis Picabia, Centre national d'art et de culture Georges Pompidou, 1976, p. 50; Art of the Dadaists, Art of the Dadaists, Helen Serger/La Boetie, Inc./Timothy Baum, 1977, cat. no. 38, p. 26; Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery/Art Council of Great Britain, 1978, p. 148, cat. no. 8.25; Modernist Masterworks to 1925 from 'the deLIGHTed eye', A Private Collection, International Center of Photography, New York, 1985, p. 7
Francis Picabia, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, January 23-March 29, 1976; Art of the Dadaists, Helen Serger/La Boetie, Inc., New York, September 27-November 30, 1977; Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery, London, January 11-March 27, 1978; Modernist Masterworks to 1925 from 'the deLIGHTed eye', A Private Collection, International Center of Photography, New York, May 15-June 16, 1985

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Lot Essay

The painter Francis Picabia asked his friend Man Ray to photograph him in extravagant cars. Man Ray also enjoyed the outings the two took together, describing one to the French Riviera in detail in his autobiography Self Portrait: 'The last lap of our trip was around the Corniche bordering the sea. It was a narrow road barely wide enough for two cars to pass each other, cut in the cliffs several hundred feet above the sea. There was no protruding wall on the outside -- the ride on which we rode, with the wheels a few inches from the edge. There were hairpin turns which explained the term -- they were hair-raising. Some had to be negotiated in two maneuvers, while I looked back to advise Picabia how he could back the long chassis to the edge of the precipice. He handled the car with ease, assuring me he had been in tighter places during the war as a chauffeur for a general. I envied his skill and resolved to learn to drive, perhaps have a car of my own someday. It would add to the series of accomplishments which had seemed beyond me -- painting in oils, photography and dancing.'
It is very rare that a photograph shows Picabia behind the wheel of a moving car, probably his favorite Mercer in this instance, and it captures brilliantly the excitement Picabia felt when driving fast. The image was published in La Révolution Surréaliste in 1925.

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