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Return to Reason (Retour a la Raison)

A work made of gelatin silver print.
© 2018 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print.




Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky)
American, 1890–1976

About this artwork

In the 1923 silent short of the same title, Man Ray filmed barely discernible scenes of Paris at night along with his own enigmatic photograms and conglomerations of spiraling or gyrating objects. The resulting sequence of near-total abstractions seems devoid of sense or purpose. The “return to reason” in the film comes finally in the form of a woman’s torso—modeled by cabaret personality Kiki de Montparnasse—turning to and fro beside a rain-covered windowpane. Man Ray reproduced the seductive finale, as well as other moments from the film, as photographs, singly and in strips. A still from Man Ray’s film, this particular photograph appeared on its own in the first issue of the key avant-garde journal La Révolution surréaliste, in 1924.


Currently Off View


Photography and Media


Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky)


Return to Reason (Retour a la Raison)


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1923


Gelatin silver print


Unmarked recto; verso unchecked


18.7 × 13.9 cm (image/paper); 32.5 × 26 (mount)

Credit Line

Julien Levy Collection, Special Photography Acquisition Fund

Reference Number



© 2018 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Extended information about this artwork

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