Philadelphia 1890 – Parigi 1976
Man Ray was a painter, photographer, graphic designer and avant-garde filmmaker. His first name was Emmanuel Rudzitsky, but in 1912 he decided to change his name, combining his childhood nickname, “Manny,” with an invented last name, thus creating his “Man Ray.”
He attended schools in New York and, after high school, turned down an architect’s scholarship to pursue graphic arts, making paintings inspired by Cubism. It would be his career as a painter that would accidentally bring him closer to photography. In fact, in 1914, he will purchase his first camera as a tool for photographing and cataloging his works.
Fundamental to his artistic career is his meeting with the eclectic Marcel Duchamp, in New York in 1915. A great harmony was immediately born between the two artists that would drive them to collaborate to give birth to the American branch of Dadaism.
In 1921 Man Ray left the United States for Paris, a city to which his friend Duchamp had moved long before. There he met the leading artists of the time-Picasso, Dali, Bunuel, Chagall, Miró.
With the outbreak of World War II and the advance of the Nazis into France, Man Ray, given his Jewish origins, was forced to leave Paris. He took shelter in New York where he became famous as a fashion photographer.
His heart, however, remained in Paris, his adopted homeland. Thus, when the war ended, Man Ray returned to the French capital and went to live in Montparnasse the artists’ quarter. He would remain there until his death on November 18, 1976.