The influential and prolific American photographer and painter Emmanuel Radnitzky adopted the pseudonym Man Ray around 1909. He was a prominent force of Dada and Surrealism, and the only American to play a significant role in the development of those movements. His visits to Alfred Stieglitz's gallery, 291 introduced him to a wide variety of European contemporary artists, such as Picasso, Rodin, and Braque. Like many other artists of his time, he was also greatly influenced by the avant-garde Armory show in New York City in 1913. His paintings from this period show his fascination with the flatness of Modernism and his interest in the patterns of shapes rather than a realistic rendering of subject matter.
During his trip to Paris in 1921, Man Ray began to experiment with photography, and may have been introduced to the photogram by Tristan Tzara. He adopted the method and called his works "rayographs," photographic images composed of ordinary objects placed on photo sensitive paper exposed to light. Together with his muse Lee Miller, he developed the solarization process which he used in his fashion and nude photography.
With the onset of World War II, he lived in California and concentrated on painting and making objects. He returned to Paris in 1951, where he remained until his death. Man Ray was one of the first artists to make photographs seen as important works of art, equal to that of painting and sculpture.
Man Ray died in 1976 in Paris, France.
- Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
- Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TC
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
- J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
- Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
- Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
- Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
- Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
- Tate Gallery, London, England
- Reina Sofía National Museum, Madrid, Spain
- National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
- International Center of Photography, New York, NY
- Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
- Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA