E Is For Emmanuel Radnitzky

Emmanuel Radnitzky, better known as Man Ray, lived from 1890 to 1976.  He was a surrealist visual artist, who not only painted and sculpted, but also pioneered some wild and crazy techniques in photography.  In addition to innovative composition, he also played around with exposing images on photo-sensitive surfaces, creating eerie X-ray like images that he called "Rayographs."

He's probably best known for his prolific photographic work, which includes portraits of nearly every major artist of the early 20th century (i.e., his pals), as well as some iconic and much-pilfered images, like the lady violin and the glass bead teardrops seen in my mini-collage below.


He also constructed some innovative 3D pieces.  The eye on the metronome seen above was one kind of goofy example -- and his original photographs of his own sculpted creations are interesting in a "meta" kind of way, too.  He designed chess pieces that are simultaneously abstract, beautiful, and functional, which have long fascinated me since I first spied a set in a museum.

But, oh, his paintings.  Those are what really made me a Man Ray fan.  I'm just going to include thumbnails (fair-use-sized, I hope) of some of my favorites.

La FortuneJazzLes Beaux TempsImaginary Portrait of the Marquis De SadeA l'Heure de l'Observatoire - Les Amoureux