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Man Ray Solarized Photograph "Yves Montand"

Item Details

Man Ray (American, 1890 – 1976)
Yves Montand
Solarized photograph
Stamped to verso “Photograph Man Ray”
Label to verso of mat from Zabriskie Gallery, New York

Purchased from Swann Galleries, New York
From the estate of William Innes Homer

A solarized photograph by renowned Surrealist and Dada artist Man Ray of the Italian-French actor Yves Montand. Solarization, also known as the Sabatier effect, is a photography development process that involves reexposing a photograph to white light before the full development of the print. Solarization is recognized as one of Man Ray’s trademark techniques, in addition to his rayographs. His photographs of solarized nudes may be some of his best-known works. Man Ray discovered the technique accidentally when photographer and fashion model Lee Miller turned on a light in Man Ray’s darkroom before some of his negatives had fully been developed. Intrigued by the result, and in attempt to avoid banality, Man Ray perfected the technique in the late 1920s and 1930s, resulting in images that exhibit faces and forms with halo-like outlines and areas of somewhat reversed tonality that emphasizes the contours. In this work, the stark outlines around the subject’s face exhibit the solarization, dramatically separating the head from the surround space of the image. In this particular work, Man Ray’s solarization creates a Surrealist effect in what may otherwise appear as a traditional profile portrait.

Born Emmanuel Radnitzky, Man Ray adopted his professional pseudonym as early as 1909. Working in a variety of media, he became a significant contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements. He is especially known for his photograms, which he called “rayographs”. He participated in intellectual circles that included Gertrude Stein, Marcel Duchamp, and James Joyce, among others. Significantly, Man Ray was included in the first Surrealist exhibition that was held at the Galerie Pierre in 1925 among other renowned Surrealist artists such as Jean Arp, Max Ernst, and Joan Miró. His work has been represented by numerous art institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Guggenheim Museum, to name a few.


- curling to edges of photograph; light wear to frame.


16.0" W x 19.0" H x 1.0" D

- measures frame; image measures 5" W x 6.5" H.

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