The National Portrait Gallery is offering the first show to focus entirely on photographic portraiture by Man Ray (1890-1976), one of the most innovative and influential artists of the 20th century, a conceptual artist and film-maker but known today more for his photographs – even though photography was not his preferred artistic medium.
The exhibition comprises over 150 photographs, all vintage prints dating from 1916 to 1968, most of which have never been shown in Britain and are drawn from private collections and major museums, including the Pompidou Centre, MOMA New York and the Man Ray Trust Archive.
Man Ray lived in various exciting centres of creativity throughout his long life and became friends with the most important artistic figures of his time: New York in the avant-garde era following the famous 1913 Armory show; Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, where he played a key role in the Dada and Surrealist movements; Hollywood in the 1940s, where he joined Europeans who had fled the Nazis in Europe; and finally, back to Paris from 1951 until his death in 1976.
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