Largest sale of Man Ray art in over 25 years takes place in November
This November the art world is going to be in a daze. In Paris, Sotheby’s will play host to the largest sale of works by the dada and surrealist giant Man Ray in over 20 years.
Over 400 works in a range of media – paintings, photography, drawings and film – from his estate will go under the hammer in what is one of the most exciting auctions of 2014.
The last time the Man Ray Trust freed up some of his works to the market to such a grand scale was in 1995, when over 500 were offered to investors and collectors in a now “legendary sale”.
Andrew Strauss, vice-president of Sotheby’s France and one of the world’s foremost experts on Man Ray, said that this auction represents a selection of the remaining works from his estate, many of which have never before been seen in public.
“This is likely the very last estate of a dada or surrealist artist to come directly to auction, nearly 40 years after the Man Ray’s death,” he continued.
“The extraordinary diversity of subjects and innovative concepts expressed by experimentation and his skillful mastery of techniques reveals how Man Ray truly was a multimedia artist.”
Leading the sale will be a group of over 191 lots of vintage photographs and surrealist compositions by Man Ray, Sotheby’s outlined, including Magnolia Flower (1926), Starfish (1928), Ostrich Egg (1944) and Mathematical Object (1934).
Simone Klein, head of Sotheby’s European Photographs Department, said that the photographs from the Man Ray collection have a time-capsule like quality to them, capturing the zeitgeist of the artist’s heyday, as well as his inimitable creativity.
“This incredibly varied ensemble groups together vintage prints of some of Man Ray’s most emblematic images as well as some of his least known works, ranging from surrealist compositions to portraits of contemporary personalities,” she expanded.
“This sale will be a unique opportunity to acquire photographs with attractive estimates and the most perfect provenance: coming from the artist himself.”
Other highlights include portraits of his many muses, such as the nightclub singer and socialite Kiki de Montparnasse (Alice Prin), the photographer Lee Miller, the model Ady Fidelin and, of course, his second wife, the dancer Juliet.
Some of the more avant-garde works include the exceptional sculpture Ce Qui Manque à Nous Tous (1927). Translated as What We All Lack, this iconic clay pipe, topped off with a sparkling glass bubble, is extraordinary.
Extrapolate what you may from that, but for some insight, Tate speculates that what can be determined from the work and what its title suggests, is that “part of the answer [to the question] lies in the childhood pastime of blowing bubbles, in dreaming, and in the pleasure to be taken from evanescent beauty”.
This is certainly an auction for true admirers of Man Ray. The quality of work on offer is tremendous, a fact amplified by their presence in his trust, which was established by his wife. When she passed away, a considerable number of works by the artists were donated to the French government in lieu of taxes.
Tweet text: This November the art world is going to be in a daze. In Paris, Sotheby’s will play host to the largest sale of works by the surrealist giant Man Ray in over 20 years. Over 400 works in a range of media from his estate will go under the hammer in what is one of the most exciting auctions of 2014.
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