Born Emmanuel Radnitzky, Man Ray was one of the most influential modern artists in the Dada and Surrealist movements. Unfortunately, his work was never recognized by critics during his lifetime. As a child, Ray began his artistic career at the Brooklyns Boys High School. During this time, Ray immersed himself in studying painting and art history. To his parents disappointment, Ray decided to pursue a path as a painter and a commercial artist. His early work displays his interest in cubism. It was during his time in New York City that Ray became friends with the famous avant-garde artist, Marcel Duchamp.
Duchamp is one of the most famous figures in the Dada movement. Dadaism started after World War II as a reaction to the horrors of war. This movement rejected reason, but valued intuition. Under Duchamps influence, Ray modified ordinary objects called "readymades" to create art pieces. One of his most famous objects is called "Object to Be Destroyed". This "readymades" consisted of a metronome with a picture of an eye pasted on its swinging arm. Duchamp and Ray continued to influence each other and collaborate on projects. Together they founded the Societe Anonyme, which was the first modern art museum in the United States. Like a game of chess, Ray and Duchamp set out to take over the art scene.
Ray left the United States for Paris in 1921. Once in Paris, he began making films and exhibiting his photographs. With Duchamp as one of his favorite collaborators, Ray made numerous short films before being forced to leave Paris at the beginning of World War II. He only stayed in Los Angeles, CA for just a few years before going back to Paris. He died in Paris in 1976.
Man Ray left the world with paintings that pushed boundaries, photographs that revealed his soul, "readymades" that reimagined everyday objects and books that shed light on the Dada and Surreal movement. Fortunately, May Ray Trust produces some of the objects and commercial products that he made. Owning one of his designs is like peering through a window to a remarkable time in art history.