Hardcover: 368 pages. Publisher: Steidl Photography International. The 320 photographs and drawings selected for this publication are among the rarest of Man Ray’s works and will offer up new revelations to even his most devoted admirers. Steidl is the world’s best printer of photography monographs. This is a used copy… the book is out of print. The dust jacket has a bend.
Locked away in enormous bank vaults and largely removed from public scrutiny for more than a decade, the collection of the little-known Man Ray Trust is comprised of more than 4,000 works by the great photographer and artist. Man Ray: Trees & Flowers—Insects & Animals is an archival project that draws extensively on this collection. The title of the series was found scrawled across the back of a photograph, and it conveys the indexical nature of this most unusual archive.
For Man Ray, the photographs functioned as a research index to the themes and motifs that he employed in better-known works, with subjects including castles and ruined buildings, street scenes, various found objects and records of his travels and observations in Europe and the United States. In other words, they represent an intermediary step in Man Ray’s creative process, the relic of a moment preserved by the artist for later use and interpretation. At the core of this book is a series of landscape photographs dating from the 1920s through the 1950s, many of which bear the distinct influence of Eugène Atget.
Man Ray was born Emmanuel Radnitzky in Philadelphia, 1890. He spent most of his working life in Paris, where he was a significant contributor to both Dadaism and Surrealism (though his ties to both movements were informal). He died in 1976. In 1999, ArtNews magazine named Man Ray one of the 25 most influential artists of the twentieth century.