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

La Prière, 1930

MAN RAY (1890–1976)
La Prière, 1930
signed in pencil 'Man Ray' (lower right) and numbered in pencil 'EA' (lower left)
gelatin silver print on linen, printed late 1960s
image/stretched linen: 13 x 9 1⁄4 x 1⁄2 in. (33 x 23.4 x 1.3 cm.)
This work is an artist's proof aside from an edition of seven
Acquired from the artist by the late owners, 1972.
Janus, Man Ray: L'Immagine Fotografica, exh. cat., La Biennale di Venezia, 1977, pl. 90.
Man Ray: Vintage Photographs, Solarizations and Rayographs, exh. cat., Kimmel/Cohn Photography Arts, New York, 1977, pl. 83.
J.-H. Martin et al., Man Ray: Photographs, New York, 1982, p. 191, p. 157.
Man Ray, exh. cat., Ronny Van de Velde, Antwerp, 1994, p. 90, no. 60.
Man Ray: La photographie à l'envers, exh. cat., Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1998, pp. 164-165.
E. de l'Ecotais et al., Man Ray, New York, 2000, p. 63.
E.C. Garcia, Man Ray in Paris, exh. cat., J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2011, p. 86.
Man Ray/Lee Miller: Partners in Surrealism, exh. cat., Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, 2011, p. 76.
Man Ray, exh. cat., Museo d'Arte della Città di Lugano, 2011, p. 142 (variant).
Washington D.C., National Museum of American Art; Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art; Houston, The Menil Collection and Philadelphia Museum of Art, Perpetual Motif: The Art of Man Ray, December 1988-January 1990, p. 216 (illustrated, fig. 190).
Miami, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sweet Dreams and Nightmares: Dada and Surrealism from the Rosalind and Melvin Jacobs Collection, March-May 2000.

Lot Essay

One of Man Ray’s most masterful nude studies, La Prière creates a phantasmal, surrealist image using sophisticated photographic techniques along with layers of dualities and double-entendres. The title demonstrates his love of ambiguity both in imagery and in language as well as his fine appreciation for jargon and wordplay. A literal translation of the title is The Prayer, but it also means The Invitation. An old slang meaning is “to reveal where the money is hidden.” Lee Miller, the model for the image is posed in an undeniably erotic fashion, yet the placement of her hands suggests prayer and chastity. The disembodiment achieved through lighting and framing heighten the mysterious aura of the sacred and profane.
Man Ray freely made of use of various media, materials and presentations to express his artistic intent. The present photograph was taken in 1930, but is here presented as an artist's proof from an edition of seven on stretched linen made by the artist in the 1960s.

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