Man Ray (August 27, 1890 – November 18, 1976), born Emmanuel Radnitzky, was an American artist who spent most of his career inParis, France. Perhaps best described simply as a modernist, he was a significant contributor to both the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal. Best known in the art world for his avant-garde photography, Man Ray produced major works in a variety of media and considered himself a painter above all. He was also a renowned fashion and portrait photographer. He is noted for hisphotograms, which he renamed “rayographs” after himself.
While appreciation for Man Ray’s work beyond his fashion and portrait photography was slow in coming during his lifetime, especially in his native United States, his reputation has grown steadily in the decades since.
In 1999, ARTnews magazine named him one of the 25 most influential artists of the 20th century, citing his groundbreaking photography as well as “his explorations of film, painting, sculpture, collage, assemblage, and prototypes of what would eventually be called performance artand conceptual art” and saying “Man Ray offered artists in all media an example of a creative intelligence that, in its ‘pursuit of pleasure and liberty,’”—Man Ray’s stated guiding principles—”unlocked every door it came to and walked freely where it would.