The following essays were written by Francis M. Naumann and Gail Stavitsky for the illustrated catalogue Conversion to Modernism -- The Early Work of Man Ray, ISBN 0-8135-3147-0, which accompanied a February 16 - August 3, 2003 exhibition at The Montclair Art Museum. The essays are reprinted with permission of the Montclair Art Museum and without illustrations. If you have questions or comments regarding the essays, or wish to purchase a copy of the catalogue, please contact the Montclair Art Museum directly through either this phone number or web address:


"Conversion to Modernism"

by Francis M. Naumann



Chapter Three

Stieglitz, Ridgefield, and the Assimilation of a Modernist Aesthetic (1913: Part i)


The socially radical spirit Man Ray encountered at the Ferrer Center coincided with his first exposure to modern art. During lunch hours he would frequently rush from work over to Stieglitz's 291 Gallery; he recalls having seen most of the important exhibitions held there, beginning with the Cezanne watercolors show, mounted in March 1911.[1] On occasion, Stieglitz would invite Man Ray to lunch, where they were often joined by some older painters, artists whom Man Ray suspected of tagging along just for the free meal. Even though they usually dined at some of the finer midtown restaurants, Stieglitz never left without picking up the tab, reconfirming Man Ray's admiration for the dealer's altruistic spirit.

Although Stieglitz asked to see examples of Man Ray's work, he never offered to display it, either in group or one-man shows in his gallery. Nevertheless, Man Ray continued to speak highly of the man and his efforts to promote modern art. When asked by Stieglitz to record his impressions of 291 for a special issue of the gallery's magazine, Camera Work, Man Ray wrote one of the more poignant and expressive tributes to the gallery and its founder. "The gray walls of the little gallery are always pregnant," he wrote, a remark he backed up with a series of aphoristic statements on the artists Stieglitz exhibited:


Cezanne the naturalist; Picasso the mystic
realist; Matisse of large charms and Chinese
refinement; Brancusi the divine machinist;
Rodin the illusionist - Picabia surveyor of
emotions - Hartley the revolutionist -
Walkowitz the multiplier; Mann the lyrist;
De Zayas insinuating; Burty the intimate;
the children, elemental. [2]


His words of praise for Stieglitz openly acknowledged his respect for the man who selected and courageously displayed the work of these artists. "A Man," he went on to say (intentionally capitalizing the M, as if to imply the deification of his subject), "the lover of all through himself stands in his little gray room. His eyes have no sparks - they burn within. The words he utters come from everywhere and their meaning lies in the future. The Man is inevitable. Everyone moves him and no one moves him. The Man through all expresses himself."

On one particularly eventful visit to the gallery, Stieglitz asked Man Ray to pose before his camera (see frontispiece). [3] The photographer made it a casual practice to take pictures of various artists, friends, and other individuals who frequented the gallery. On this occasion, he asked Man Ray to support himself against one of the gallery walls, for he had planned to take an exceptionally long exposure. With the shutter held open, Man Ray stood as still as possible while Stieglitz waved a screen of stretched cheesecloth about the head of his subject, allowing the light-sensitive film to record the imagery in a muted, soft-focus fashion. In the resultant print, the artist looks directly into the camera lens, locked into a timeless gaze with the viewer, his deep-set eyes, dark curly hair, and rounded facial features emerging gently from the subtle, soft-gray diffusion of the photographic image. While this experience would kindle the artist's interest in photography, it would be some years before he considered the possibility of utilizing the camera as a tool for his own artistic expression. In this period, his purpose for visiting the gallery was to see examples of the most recent developments in his chosen profession - namely, painting - selected, as these examples were, from the most advanced manifestations of the visual arts to be found on both sides of the Atlantic.[4]

Although Man Ray was certainly impressed by the work of American painters that he saw at 291 - particularly Mann, Dove, Hartley, and Weber - he claimed to have felt an even greater attraction to the European artists, whose work he said was more mysterious. The mystery that drew him to these works was their unfinished quality, their tendency not to present imagery in a fully resolved and finished state (later he would even claim to possess "an aversion to paintings in which nothing is left to speculation"). [5] In this regard, he was especially impressed by the exhibition of Cézanne watercolors. "I admired the economical touches of color and the white spaces which made the landscapes look unfinished but quite abstract," he remarked, "so different from any watercolors I had seen before."[6]

The sparse, though highly refined and elegant, watercolors by this nineteenth-century French painter - regarded already by many to be the "Father of Modern Art "- were of such inspiration to Man Ray that, shortly after viewing them at Stieglitz's gallery, he went home and began experimenting with the medium himself. One of his earliest surviving watercolors is a portrait of his sister Dorothy (fig. 40), who, we shall recall, had served as the subject of a more representational portrait just a few years earlier (fig. 19).[7] Comparing these two highly diverse approaches to the same subject, it is clear that the artist's style has dramatically changed. The very fact that he begins working in watercolor at this time may indicate the influence of Cézanne, but the colorful and somewhat chaotic brushstrokes lack the delicacy and finesse of this venerated French artist. Nevertheless, Man Ray still manages to capture his sister's heavy-set eyes and, at the same time, conveys something more. From now on, he will no longer be content to simply render the objects of this world in a strictly representational manner (if for no other reason than to demonstrate his proficiency at the medium) but wants his viewers to know that he is committed to the new aesthetics of modernism.

Another European artist whose work was a great influence on Man Ray in this period was Rodin, whose watercolors were first shown at 291 in January 1908 - though Man Ray probably first became familiar with his work through subsequent exhibitions or through various examples of his drawings retained by Stieglitz for private viewing at the gallery. "Rodin's unanatomical watercolor sketches of nudes," Man Ray later remarked, "pleased me immensely and justified my abandon of academic principles."[8] The truth in this remark is evident in a comparison of Man Ray's numerous sketches of nudes (figs. 23-27) with the figure studies by Rodin (particularly the examples reproduced in Camera Work, which we can be relatively certain were exhibited at 291 and likely seen there by Man Ray).[9] In his watercolors (fig. 27), Man Ray appears to have consciously emulated the fluid motion and line contour that characterize the drawings of Rodin. But perhaps even more significant, Man Ray has allowed himself to be openly guided by the freedom and general spirit inherent in the Frenchman's unbridled and spontaneous interpretation of the nude female form.

The work of Rodin and Cézanne may have inspired the style (but clearly not the subject) of Man Ray's Metropolis (fig. 41), a watercolor from 1913 that depicts New York's elaborate transportation network. The viewpoint taken in this image - a somewhat detached, distant view of a metropolitan center - is logical for a Brooklynite who commuted into Manhattan every day. In Metropolis, an oval-shaped ferryboat nestled against the skyline in the lower left corner of the image appears to be making its way upriver behind two large steamships docked between piers in the harbor. Issuing forth from a large, low-lying brick building in the right corner - probably meant to represent the central train station - is a series of commuter lines disappearing into the center of the composition, while a sole trolley car makes its way over a viaduct above them. The most prominent element of this composition takes the form of a large woman's head looming above the entire ensemble in the upper left corner of the work. The sharply juxtaposed scale and detached positioning of this head - along with its cold, expressionless features - suggest the possibility of a symbolic interpretation: Man Ray may have intended this head to represent some kind of mythic goddess of metropolitan life. Finally, the most prophetic element of this intriguing watercolor comes in the form of seven abstract planes of color, rendered as two-dimensional strips winding their way through the center of the composition. The first plane begins as a single blue rectangle emerging from the depths of the river in the central foreground, while the last two planes are rendered as olive-green shapes merging with cloud-like formations in the sky above. At this point, these abstract patterns were probably meant as nothing more than indicators of the step-by-step process necessary in negotiating such a complex transportation network.

Compositionally, Metropolis is loosely based on the pen-and-ink sketch of lower Manhattan that Man Ray made a year earlier (fig. 35). This technique - of using an earlier work as the basis for something new - is an approach that Man Ray employed more than once during these years, for some of the details in Metropolis reappear in an untitled ink drawing (or woodcut?) reproduced in the Modern School magazine in the fall of 1913 (fig. 42). [10] In this work a large crouching figure is shown bending into the confines of an overcrowded rectangular space. On the lower left is a series of parallel lines reminiscent of the train cars in Metropolis, and below the skyscrapers on the right we see again a pair of steamships berthed at their piers. Finally, the entire image is unified by means of a heavy black crescent-shaped line, zigzagging through the center of the composition in the shape of an irregular S-curve, assuming a position equivalent to that of the rectangular planes interwoven through the center of Metropolis.

The possible significance of these abstract shapes is made clearer in the enlargement and elongation of this image in Tapestry Painting (fig. 43), a large (nine feet high) oil-on-canvas composition, which, if we can judge by the title, was meant to be displayed in the fashion of a wall hanging. In this version of the image, it becomes clear that the large figure in the center of the composition isplaying a guitar, the upper neck of which is represented by one of the many dark crescent shapes. Their repetition throughout the image, then, may have been meant to symbolize the sound emanating from this musical instrument, a detail that unites the theme of this picture with other musical analogies that preoccupied Man Ray and his friends at the Ferrer Center - one among many concerns, as we shall see, that eventually led Man Ray to explore the potential inherent in more abstract imagery.




With Man Ray's interest in modern painting reaffirmed through periodic visits to Stieglitz's gallery, and his commitment to anarchism firmly established through his involvement with the Ferrer Center, the restricting conditions of living at home with his family and the discomfort of sharing a small studio in Manhattan with Adolf Wolff necessitated a major change in his living situation. In the fall of 1912, the opportunity presented itself in the form of an invitation from Samuel Halpert, a somewhat older painter whom Man Ray had befriended at the Ferrer School who had recently returned from a trip to Paris, where he studied for a brief period with Matisse.[11]

Halpert asked Man Ray to join him on a Sunday afternoon visit to an artists' colony just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, in Grantwood, New Jersey. The remote atmosphere of this small community - which was then still relatively undeveloped, with only a few isolated houses situated along the heights overlooking the small town of Ridgefield (fig. 44) - was exactly what Man Ray was looking for. "It was open country without any house," Man Ray recalled of his first view of the terrain. "In the foreground, scattered here and there, stood a few simple picturesque little houses with fruit trees in between. To the right, among taller trees, could be seen more substantially built rustic stone houses. It certainly looked like myidea of an artists' colony."[12] A journalist who visited the community a few years later described the locale as follows:


Ridgefield, or rather the poet's part of
Ridgefield, for they are some distance from
the village of that name, is unique and
charming. The houses are clustered together
on the side of the long hill which slopes
down from the Palisades, overlooking the
Hackensack Valley, and a few miles beneath
the Hackensack River flows like a silver
thread in the blue haze. The locality is
hardly more than a half hour's trolley and
ferry ride from New York, but the atmos-
phere is that of a peaceful island village, as
separated from the din and bustle of the
city as though it were in the mountains.[13]


Almost immediately, Man Ray began sharing the twelve-dollar monthly rent on a sparsely furnished shack with Halpert and decided that he would eventually move out there permanently. Within a few weeks the two painters were joined by the young experimental poet Alfred Kreymborg, a friend of Halpert's who would soon leavehis mark on the development of the modern poetry movement in New York.

Halpert and Kreymborg planned on using their rooms only on weekends, so at first Man Ray was left to paint in relative isolation. He set up a studio for himself, tacking to one wall his large Tapestry Painting. With a Brownie camera - which he used to take various documentary snapshots during his years in Ridgefield - Man Ray took a picture of himself in these new surroundings (fig. 45), his large palette resting on a three-legged table as he looks up at the viewer, seemingly caught in the act of painting. But a closer examination of the image reveals that it was probably a carefully posed picture, staged in order to reveal the artist's dual identity: a loose-fitting white shirt and somewhat flamboyant bow tie suggest his profession as a painter, while the winter cap and hiking boots that he also wears give the impression that he has taken only a momentary break from the more rugged demands of his remote rural environment.

Not long after Man Ray moved to Ridgefield, Halpert painted a picture of him at work in a brightly lit room on the main floor of the shack (fig. 46), the artist standing before his easel likely working on an outdoor scene visible through the glass window directly behind him. (In a reflection on the shade of a lamp positioned on the table in the center of the composition, Halpert depicts himself painting the picture.) Since Man Ray's first months in Ridgefield were spent during the winter of 1912-1913 (fig. 47), we can imagine that in Halpert's painting the artist may have been working on a scene of the surrounding countryside, bedecked, as it often was in the cold winter months,with a blanket of freshly fallen winter snow (figs.48,49). [14]

The technique used to record snow in both of these landscapes is unusual. When painting winter scenes, students are normally instructed to apply the required layers of white pigment as a background, allowing it to dry before adding the finishing details. Man Ray, however, followed quite the contrary procedure. Working directly onto the surface of unprimed canvas, he quickly sketched the outline of trees, houses, and the profile of a large hill located in the distance across the valley. Only as a final step did he elect to apply the uneven patches of white paint, taking care not to cover those details in the landscape he had just painted. The results are surprisingly convincing. The exposed areas of unprimed canvas are interpreted as sections of uncovered ground, while at the same time they provide the paintings with an unfinished quality - an effect the artist doubtlessly intended, in emulation of the watercolors of Cézanne.

When the cold weather did not permit painting outdoors, Man Ray worked inside, sketching anything he came into contact with in his immediate environment, from interior views of various rooms in the cottage (fig. 50) to still lifes based on whatever happened to be lying about: from an old teapot (fig. 51) to a stray cat (fig. 52). These drawings and watercolors were tacked up on the walls of his little shack in order to give it, as he said, "a more lived-in appearance." The last of these drawings may have served as the inspiration for a painting depicting a cat sleeping on a pillow next to various still life elements (fig. 53), a work that caused Halpert to accuse Man Ray of stealing his material and - to a certain extent - even his style.

The disagreement between these artists involved the glazed black vase pictured in the center of the composition. Apparently, this vase belonged to Halpert, and he wanted to use it for the first time in one of his paintings. "When Halpert turned up the next week and saw my painting, he frowned," Man Ray recalled. "He recognized the vase he had brought for his projected still-life and considered my work an act of piracy." Man Ray apologized to his friend but later confessed that he never really understood why Halpert took such an antagonistic position. "After all," he reasoned, "he hadn't made the vase any more than the landscape before which we both sat a couple of weeks ago." [15]

Despite Man Ray's denials, there are certain details in this painting that rely upon the precedent of Halpert's unique style. Even though Halpert had recently returned from Paris, where he attended classes at the Matisse Academy, he seems to have been more deeply impressed by the 'work of one of Matisse's colleagues, Albert Marquet. Marquet was a lesser-known Fauve painter but an artist of considerable talent; he had himself been influenced by Matisse, but his style was characterized by a reduction of detail, an accentuation of form through outline, and a restrained though tonally atmospheric palette. When he returned to New York, Halpert applied a similar technique to his modeling of form, visible not only in his still lifes but also in his better-known landscapes and cityscapes.[16]

The way in which Man Ray reduces and simplifies the various components of his paintings in this period - clarifying contours with lines of black pigment - reveals an approach that is very close to Halpert's. This is especially apparent in two still lifes from 1913, one that depicts a ceramic jug, a banana, and an assortment of miscellaneous tableware (fig. 54) and another that incorporates the same teapot that had been used in the earlier sketch (fig. 51), as well as a colorful Japanese figurine, which, in company with a small teacup positioned next to the pot, lends the entire composition a slightly Asian air (fig. 55). This is not a comparison Man Ray would have denied, for a few years earlier he had painted a very detailed copy of a Japanese print (just as van Gogh had done before him). [17]

Halpert may very well have been proud to name such important European artists as his teachers, yet even at this early date a number of his colleagues considered his work derivative. Writing a decade later, for example, Kreymborg regarded Man Ray's approach as far more innovative. "The slow moving convert to Post-Impressionism," he wrote of Halpert, "had a ponderous habit of repeating himself." Reaching his conclusions through hindsight, Kreymborg went on to describe the work of the younger artist quite differently: "With the ten-year younger Ray," he wrote, "one never knew what to anticipate. Man was only twenty-two at the time, but the large-eyed, curly-haired dreamer had an enviable record as a daring performer in versatile experiments." [18]

It would not be long before the comparatively straightforward, naturalistic approach that Man Ray employs in his paintings of this period would be replaced by an even deeper commitment to modernism, an approach influenced, in all likelihood, by having seen the most important and influential exhibition of modern art ever held in America.




The works of modern art that Man Ray had seen at Stieglitz's gallery helped prepare him - and other American painters and sculptors of his generation - to view in February 1913 the single most influential grand-scale art exhibition ever held in this country: the International Exhibition of Modern Art, which, because it was held at the Sixty-ninth Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue at Twenty-fifth Street in Manhattan, became known as the Armory Show. The large paintings by French artists shown there - particularly those by Picabia, Matisse, and Duchamp - prompted Man Ray to begin work on a larger scale, while their abrupt departure from conventional painting affirmed and encouraged his own modernist inclinations. The show's impact was so great, however, that it overwhelmed him to the point of inactivity: "I did nothing for six months," he later told a reporter. "It took me that time to digest what I had seen."[19]

For the next two years Man Ray would experiment with the most current European movements, fusing the bright colors of Fauvism with the broken planar structures of Analytic Cubism. The specific influence of Matisse, for example, can be immediately discerned in his Flowers with Red Background (fig. 56), where, as Matisse did in his famous Red Studio (Museum of Modern Art, New York) - a painting that was exhibited in the Armory Show [20] - Man Ray surrounded the individual elements of his still life in an enveloping, brilliant red hue. As in the painting by Matisse, this uniform background coloration serves to spatially compress the pictorial elements of the composition, enhancing and reaffirming its predominantly decorative characteristics. Even the wallpaper pattern that Man Ray uses in his painting appears to have been appropriated from a specific painting by Matisse, Harmony in Red (State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg); that picture was not in the Armory Show, but Man Ray would have known it from a black-and-white photographic reproduction that was mounted and displayed a few years earlier in Stieglitz's gallery.[21]

While the impact of seeing Matisse's paintings for the first time is unmistakably evident in this picture, the influence of Picasso is felt with perhaps even greater intensity in a group of paintings by Man Ray from 1913 that have only recently been considered within the context of Cubism and its influence on American art in this period.[22] The only artist living in New York who was intimately familiar with the development of Cubism in Europe was Max Weber, who had his first one-man exhibition at 291 in February of 1911 and whom Man Ray had likely met and befriended in classes at the Ferrer School, which Weber began to frequent in 1912. Weber had spent three years in Europe, where he studied at a number of academic institutions in Paris before coming under the influence of modern European painters: Cézanne (whose work he had seen at the Salon d'Automne in 1906 and 1907), Matisse (with whom he had studied), and Picasso (whom he had met on at least one occasion and whose work he saw at the apartment of Gertrude Stein in Paris and in the artist's studio on the Bateau Lavoir).[23]

When Weber returned to New York in 1909, he immediately began to champion the work of European modernists, and his own paintings from this period clearly reveal their influence. Man Ray's introduction to the work of these same artists was likely the result of his discussions with Weber at the Ferrer Center, for it was here that he first painted and exhibited works that broke from the traditions imposed by academic art. His earlier grouping of nudes in a landscape setting, for example (fig. 31 - a theme to which he would frequently return in the next few years - was inspired either directly by reproductions of paintings by Cézanne (which Weber claimed to have been the first to import to America) or by Weber's incorporation of the bather theme in his own figurative works, derived as these themes were from both Cézanne and the idyllic landscapes of Matisse.[24]

By 1910 Weber had already begun to subject his nude figures to the sharp angularization and compression of form associated with Analytic Cubism. By 1913, then, not only could Man Ray consult the few drawings and paintings by Picasso and Braque that he had viewed at 291 or seen reproduced in the pages of Camera Work, but he had the example of Weber's paintings at his disposal as well. Whatever his sources, the red wash study of a female nude (fig. 57) may very well have been the earliest work by Man Ray to document his own personal experiments with the faceted and translucent shapes of Analytic Cubism.[25] The naturalistically rendered anatomy of a nude woman is here subjected to an overlay of angular, translucent washes of color, accentuated by groupings of darker parallel lines and brushstrokes. Though somewhat awkward in execution, the overall effect is not markedly dissimilar from the impression one might retain from a casual viewing of Picasso's Nude of 1910 (fig. 58), a charcoal drawing that was exhibited in 1911 in the first showing of the artist's work at 291 (where it was purchased by Stieglitz) and reproduced the next year in a special issue of Camera Work devoted to the art of Matisse and Picasso.[26]

Man Ray's Portrait of Aifred Stieglitz (fig. 59) is thought to be the first painting he made after seeing the Armory Show.[27] Indeed, the fragmented forms in this portrait relate to similar passages in three works by Picasso shown in this exhibition, two of which were lent to the show by Stieglitz himself: La Femme au pot de moutarde of 1910 (Gemeentemuseum, The Hague), the drawing of a female nude (fig. 58), and a bust of a woman's head (Art Institute of Chicago). Moreover, the large "291" inscribed in the central foreground of Man Ray's portrait may have been inspired by the bold lettering that appears in Braque's painting The Violin (Andreas Speiser Collection, Basel). The presence of these letters may have been drawn to Man Ray's attention by the comments of critics, who singled them out as a subject of exceptional ridicule in their reviews of the Armory exhibition. [28]

In his subsequent experiments with this emerging pictorial idiom, Man Ray appears to have quickly adopted a new and unique interpretation of Cubist form and space. In his Portrait (of an unidentified individual) dating from 1913 (fig. 6o), the overlay of sharp lines and angles - which he had used earlier to define the features of Alfred Stieglitz - is replaced by a network of interlocking circular shapes, each of which is harmoniously integrated within the overall framework of the composition by a system of uniform tonal modulations. Even though this painting is only known through an inferior black-and-white photograph, certain details reveal that Man Ray's interpretationof Cubist space depends largely upon his ability to integrate the illusory devices of translucency and overlap. Note that the line running through the woman's hairbun continues to define the figure's upper neck and shoulder and also forms the right edge of a vertically oriented rectangular plane in the immediate background.

Man Ray's use of these illusory conventions is perhaps best revealed in a Cubist still life from 1913 (fig. 61). Here, the general impression of Cubist space is generated almost exclusively through the use of repetition, translucency, and overlap. All three of the major elements in this composition - the teapot on the right (depicted in an earlier drawing: fig. 51), a covered cup in the foreground, and a large watering vessel behind it - are each systematically repeated, so as to allow portions of the duplicated image in the background to remain visible through the foreground shape. The resultant effect curiously matches the impression of a printing accident or a double-exposed photograph, where the same image is mistakenly repeated, but slightly off-register. Although Man Ray painted few of what could be classified as doctrinaire Cubist pictures, he would return to the vocabulary of this new pictorial idiom intermittently throughout this period.

What concerned Man Ray most at this time was not his creative work but rather persistent, ongoing problems in his personal life. Although the Ridgefield community was conducive to work, it was so detached from activities in New York that Man Ray began to suffer from extreme loneliness. What he desired more than anything else was female companionship, a situation that continuedto elude him. As the winter months approached, he dreamed about a meaningful relationship, fantasizing that he had fallen in love with a woman who served as his model. After she left, he wrote:


All I have left of you is an outline in blue
around cold white flesh. But my hands are
still warm with the touch of your live
body . . . . If I had let my hands draw, they
would have drawn a beautiful warm
body . . . . Maybe your warm body will
return to me ... . My warm hand so not like
the cold canvas .... I cannot talk nor live,
but I am very warm and someone seems to
be caring for me. I do not see you, but I feel
you all about me. [29]


The quality of this stream-of-consciousness prose is hardly an indication of the important role Man Ray would soon play in the modern poetry movement, but the ideal woman would soon walk right straight into the middle of his life, and it would not be long before she occupied an equally centralized position in his poetry and art.



In the notes, because it is so frequently cited, Man Ray's autobiography, Self Portrait (Boston: Atlantic-Little, Brown; London: André Deutsch, 1963) is abbreviated SP. A second edition was published posthumously (Boston: Little, Brown, 1982); it includes a foreword by Merry A. Foresta and many more illustrations than the original edition. Unless otherwise noted, all citations are to the first edition.

1. In his autobiography (SP, p. 18), Man Ray said that the Cézanne watercolor show was the first exhibition he saw at 291, but, a few sentences further on, he also reported having seen an exhibition of Rodin watercolors, the last of which was held at the gallery in the spring of 1910 (although Rodin drawings were periodically exhibited in group shows at the gallery). Rodin's drawings and their influence on Man Ray's work are discussed below.

2. Man Ray, "Impressions of 291," Camera Work 47 (dated July 1914, published January 1915), p. 61.

3. Even though Man Ray describes Stieglitz's preparation of this portrait in some detail in his autobiography (SP, pp. 19-20), it is not known for certain if Stieglitz can be credited as author of the photograph reproduced here. I discovered this print in the artist's studio in 1981 and believed at that time that it was a self-portrait. Since Man Ray did not securely determine his authorship by means of a signature or a studio stamp on the verso of the print (as was his custom), then it is logical to assume that this photograph may have been taken and printed by another photographer. I have suggested Stieglitz's authorship primarily on the basis of Man Ray's description, which very closely matches that of the image. The negative for this portrait is not preserved in the artist's estate, nor is it documented in the "master set" of Stieglitz prints housed in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Primarily for stylistic reasons, the current leading experts on Stieglitz - Peter Bunnell and Sarah Greenough - are hesitant to assign a secure Stieglitz authorship.

4. Exactly when this photograph was taken is also open to question. My estimate of ca. 1915 is based on the fact that it was likely in that year - when Man Ray was preparing for his first exhibition at the Daniel Gallery - that he approached Stieglitz for technical information about how to take photographs of his paintings.

5. SP, p.181

6. Ibid., p. 18.

7. This watercolor is clearly signed and dated at a later date - probably many years later - for the artist did not use the name Man Ray until sometime during the spring of 1912 (see ch. I, n. 23), and the calligraphic style of the inscription is more typical of works dated in the 1950s and 1960s. With this much of a time removal, it is likely that Man Ray guessed at the early date, imagining that, because of its subject, the work must have been made while he was still living at home. The style, however, is one that is more consistent with other drawings and watercolors made at the end of 1912 or the beginning of 1913.

8. SP, p.18.

9. Nine drawings by Rodin are reproduced in a special issue of Camera Work devoted to his work, no. 34-35 (dated April-July 1911).

10. Modern School (Autumn 1913), p. i; this issue also contained Man Ray's poem "Travail."

11 Until now, the date of Man Ray's move to Ridgefield has always been given as 1913, but there is some evidence that he took his first trip out to the artists' colony somewhat earlier, probably in the closing months of 1912. His winter landscapes are dated 1913 (see figs. 48, 49), but they must have been completed in the early months of that year. Works made after the fall of 1913 (see figs. 82-89) are strikingly different in style and approach. Finally, to the end of his life, Man Ray kept a sketchbook (now lost) that was prominently inscribed: "Man Ray 1912 / Ridgefield N.J." (see below).

12. SP, p. 30.

13. Margaret Johns, "Free Footed Verse Is Danced in Ridgefield, New Jersey," New York Tribune, July 15, 1915 sec. 3, p. 20.

14. The photograph of Man Ray in Ridgefield that is reproduced here (fig. 47) was once in the collection of his brother, Sam, and is inscribed on its verso: "Bro Man / Winter 1913" (Papers of Helen Ray Faden, Pasadena, Florida).

15. SP, p. 33; quoting from the same passage, Arturo Schwarz concluded that this painting disappeared (Man Ray: The Rigour of Imagination [New York: Rizzoli, 1977], p. 3,).

16. See, for example, Halpert's Brooklyn Bridge, 1913 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York), reproduced in Lloyd Goodrich, The Decade of the Armory Show, 1910-1920 (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1963), p. 10. For more on Halpert's work of this period, see John Weichsel, "Samuel Halpert's Paintings," East and West, January 1916, pp. 310-313, 316, and Diane Tepfer, Samuel Halpert: A Conservative Modernist, Federal Reserve System, Washington, D.C., April 9-May 31, 1991. On Marquet, see Francis Jourdam, Marquet (Paris: Cercle d'art, 1959), Marcell Marquet, Marquet (Paris: Laffont, 1951; Hazan, 1955) and François Daulte, L'Oeuvre de Marquet (Lausanne: Spes, La Bibliothèque des Arts, 1953).

17. This painting was formerly in the possession of Dorothy Ray Goodbread, Rydal, Pennsylvania, but it is now in the collection of Jules and San Lee Brassner (on long-term loan to the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, Japan). For reasons that are unclear, Schwarz reproduces the same still life with Japanese figurine (fig. 55), but he gives it a date of 1910 (Schwarz, Man Ray, fig. 5 p. 18). Although the painting is not dated, the date of 1910 is untenable. On the basis of subject and style, the date provided here - ca. 1913 - is more probable.

18. Alfred Kreymborg, Troubadour: An Autobiography (New York: Liveright, 1925), p. 201

19. Quoted from C. Lewis Hind, "Wanted, a Name," Christian Science Monitor, ca. November-December 1919 (exact date unknown; clipping preserved in the scrapbooks of Katherine Dreier, Collection of the Société Anonyme, Beinecke Library, Yale University; New Haven; reprinted with slight variations in Hind, Art and I [New York: John Lane, 1920], pp. 180-185). Despite the early date of this statement - made only five years after the event referred to - it is unlikely that the artist totally ceased artistic production for a period of six months simply because he needed the time to contemplate what he had seen at the Armory Show. It is at best an exaggeration, meant only to emphasize the importance of this event.

20. For the identification of this and all other works exhibited in the Armory Show, see Milton W. Brown, The Story of the Armory Show (Greenwich: New York Graphic Society, 1963), pp. 217-301, 2nd revised edition (New York: Abbeville, 1988), pp. 244-327, and Brown, Armory Show: 50th Anniversary Exhibition, 1913/1963 (Utica: Munson-Williams Proctor Institute, 1963), pp. 182-208.

21. In the 1910 exhibition of Matisse's drawings at 291, Stieglitz supplemented the show by displaying black-and-white photographic reproductions of paintings, including, among others, Harmony in Red (see William Jones Homer, Alfred Stieglitz and the American Avant-Garde [Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1977], p. 6,).

22. See the catalogue that accompanies the exhibition Inheriting Cubism: The Impact of Cubism on American Art, 1909-1936, essay by John Cauman, Hollis Taggart Gallery, New York, November 28, 2001-January 12, 2002.

23. On the influence of Cubism in Weber's work of this period, see Homer, Alfred Stieglitz, p. 130, and Percy North, Max Weber: American Modern (New York: Jewish Museum, 1982), pp. 36-37. These historians fail to note that there is documentary evidence to prove that Weber actually met Picasso and visited him in his studio in 1908, a fact supported by a note from Picasso to Weber, dated November 10, 1908, wherein Picasso expresses his regret at having missed Weber's visit to his studio but also arranges for another appointment on the following day (this note is reproduced and translated in Sandra E. Leonard, Henri Rousseau and Max Weber [New York: Richard L. Feigcn, 1970], p. 33 and plate 14, p. 81). Later, reproductions of Picasso's work in American newspapers and magazines can be seen to have influenced the early Cubist compositions of both Max Weber and Man Ray (see the discussion of this topic in chapter 6 of the present study, particularly as it pertains to sources for Man Ray's Five Figures [fig. 120]).

24. See, for example, Weber's Bathers, 1909 (Baltimore Museum of Art, Cone Collection) and Summer, 1909 (Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Solomon K. Gross, New York). On Weber's claim to have been the first to import Cézanne, see Lloyd Goodrich, interview with Max Weber, November 9, 1948, Archives of American Art (reported in Homer, Alfred Stieglitz, p. 130).

25. This drawing currently carries Man Ray's signature and the date "1913." On the verso of a photograph taken in 1963, however, no date appears on the image and the year "1912" is written on the verso. Naomi Savage (who owns this photograph) explains that although this date was provided by the artist himself (when assembling works for an exhibition in Princeton), since he later inscribed the drawing "1913," the earlier date was probably provided in error.

26. Camera Work, special number (dated August 1912).

27. As suggested by Arturo Schwarz, Man Ray, p. 30; note that this does not rule out the possibility of his experimentation with Cubism at an earlier date, as I have suggested above.

28. Brown, Story of the Armory Show, p. 112.

29. These phrases are excerpted from four pages of text in Man Ray's handwriting that are dated "Nov. 4, 1912" (Papers of Helen Ray Faden, Pasadena, Florida). For reasons that are unclear, in the biography of Man Ray by Neil Baldwin (Man Ray: American Artist [New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1988], pp. 35-36), this passage is referred to as "the artist's secret diary" and interpreted as referring to Adon Lacroix, whom Man Ray would not meet until August of the following year.


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