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

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  • A work made of gelatin silver photogram.




Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky)
American, 1890–1976

About this artwork

In late 1921 the American Dada painter and photographer Man Ray produced his first photograms—photographs made without a camera by placing objects on a sheet of light-sensitive paper, then exposing the arrangement to light. He claimed to have stumbled upon the process, which he dubbed “Rayographs,” by chance; it turned out to be an appropriate method for an artist who looked to accidental and automatic occurrences for inspiration. With unexpected combinations of everyday objects, Rayographs articulated a key Dada interest in homemade, “anti-art” reworkings of industrial and consumer society. Man Ray frequently used translucent items like glass bottles, filmstrips, and feathers, valuing their gradation of tones and illusion of three-dimensionality. “They looked startlingly new and mysterious,” he later wrote. With these cameraless images, photography straddled the line between abstraction and representation. Dada leader Tristan Tzara called them “pure Dada creations.”


Currently Off View


Photography and Media


Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky)




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 photogram


Signed and dated in pencil, lower right


Image/paper: 29.6 × 21.8 cm (11 11/16 × 8 5/8 in.); Mount: 53 × 44 cm (20 7/8 × 17 3/8 in.)

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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