MAN RAY (1890–1976)
The Enigma of Isadore Ducasse, 1920
gelatin silver print, printed 1951-1976.
initialed 'MR' and annotated 'EA' in ink (recto); stamped 'EPREUVE ORIGINALE / Atelier Man Ray/ PARIS in ink (verso)
image/sheet: 914 x 1158 in. (23.4 x 29.5 cm.)
La Révolution surréaliste, December 1, 1924, no. 1, première année, p. 1 (preface).
Man Ray LImmagine Fotografica, Edizioni La Biennale Di Venezia, Venezia, 1977, pl. 6.
Philippe Sers, MAN RAY / Objets de mon affection, Paris, 1983, p. 39, cat. no. 27.
Man Ray, Man Ray: 1890-1976, Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1995, pl. 9, p. 257.
Man Ray, Photographies de Man Ray, Tokyo Shimbun, Tokyo, 2002, p. 117.
Mason Klein, Alias Man Ray: The Art of Reinvention, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2009, fig 52, p. 50 (color variant).
Wendy A. Grossman and Andrew Strauss, Man Ray: Human Equations, Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern, 2015, fig. 93, p. 123.
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Lot Essay

Man Ray draws his inspiration for the creation of this object from Chants de Maldoror, an 1868-69 text by Comte de Lautréamont (Isidore Ducasse). His object, a sewing machine wrapped and tied is a direct result of the reading of this passage, 'lovely as the fortuitous encounter on a dissection table of a sewing machine and an umbrella.' Ducasse's writing was later embraced by André Breton as a classic Surrealist text. This work is stamped with Manford stamp M26, a later Paris stamp used between1951-1976, as noted in Steven Manford’s book, Behind the photo: the stamps of Man Ray, Paris, Collection Clémentine, 2009.

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