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Self-Portrait [Paperback]

Man Ray
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: £14.99
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Book Description

5 April 2012

In this remarkable autobiography, Man Ray - painter, photographer, sculptor, film maker and writer - relates the story of his life, from his childhood determination to be an artist and his technical drawing classes in a Brooklyn high school, to the glamorous and heady days of Paris in the 1940s, when any trip to the city 'was not complete until they had been "done" by Man Ray's camera'.

Friend to everyone who was anyone, Ray tells everything he knows of artists, socialites and writers such as Matisse, Hemingway, Picasso and Joyce, not to mention Lee Miller, Nancy Cunard, Alberto Giacometti, Gertrude Stein, Dali, Max Ernst and many more, in this decadent, sensational account of the early twentieth-century cultural world.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (5 April 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0141195509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141195506
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 401,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

MAN RAY, masculine noun, synonymous with joy, to play, to enjoy (Marcel Duchamp )

About the Author

Born Emmanuel Radnitzky (1890-1976), Man Ray grew up in America but spent the greater part of his life as an emigre in Paris. Man Ray's art ranges from painting, sculpture, collage, constructed objects and photography. Beginning in 1921, he received hundreds of commissions for portraits and commercial work which were featured in publications such as Vogue, Vu, Harper's Bazaar and Vanity Fair. He was an American, but worked in Paris from 1921 to 1940, when Duchamp, Stieglitz, Picasso and Dali were among his colleagues. A member of the Dada art movement and the only American member of the Paris Surrealist movement, Man Ray considered himself an artist and thought of photography as a medium of artistic expression when used for more than reproduction. In describing his work, Man Ray once said, 'I paint what can not be photographed. I photograph what I do not wish to paint.'

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended. 31 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great read! An insight into the life of this great artist in his own words. I loved reading this book and as an artist myself, found it very inspiring.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read... 18 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
...that provides us with a series of snapshots of the artist and the world in which he lived. The book would make for a good TV mini series.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read 7 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If anyone is a fan of Man Ray this is a good purchase at a sensible price--and the book is wel written and easy to read
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Bio of an Active Artist 5 Mar 2006
By Renee Thorpe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Emanuel Radinsky was an innovative artist mid 20th century who worked mainly as a photographer, the hyper productive Man Ray.

Firmly part of the wacky Surrealist movement, his autobiography nonetheless plays no games and is a fairly straightforward, engrossing read. Nice insights into 20th century art world... Paris as well as New York.

Best aspect of the book are his many accounts of other artists & writers... Duchamp, Matisse, Ezra Pound, Henry Miller. Worst aspect is having to read about the creepy socialite crowd who were his patrons.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprise, Surprise, Man Ray Could Write Too. 2 Dec 2007
By James R. Holland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Man Ray was born Emmanuel Radnitzky in 1890. He changed his name early in his career. Man Ray always considered himself primarily a painter. His photography was just a way of earning money so he could afford to paint. He grew up in New York City and was a regular visitor the "291" and "An American Place" the modern art and photography galleries of Alfred Stieglitz. In fact, he was around Stieglitz enough to sometimes get a "bit" bored with his "long-winded" lecturing about Photography's important place in the Art World. Man Ray did become acquainted with many styles of modern art and photography from Stieglitz and they remained life-long friends.
It's always been one of my theories that the best place to find out about a person is by reading his own words in that person's autobiography. That theory holds doubly true with the autobiography of Man Ray. I'd read a lot about Man Ray in other biographies and books about Dadaism, Surrealism and the history of photography. But it wasn't until I read this book that I felt like I had any kind of understanding of the man, his work and his thoughts. The very concept of Dadaism had always seemed mysterious to me until Man Ray discussed it in a couple of places in his Self Portrait. He wrote "Dada has accomplished its purpose of mocking the artistic and political futility of the day, offsetting it with irrationality and the destruction of all accepted values. It was as if the Dadaists were proposing to take over the affairs of this world, implying that they could not have made a worse mess than had the accredited leaders."
"What Dada had accomplished was purely negative; its poems and paintings were illogical, irreverent and irrelevant." "Dada did not die; it was simply transformed" into a new movement "Surrealism, a word taken from the writings of the dead poet Apollinaire... that was composed of all the original members of the Dada group..."
There were some glaring omissions in this book. While his mistress Kiki was given lots of space and described in a chapter entitled "The True Story of Kiki of Montparnasse," Lee Miller was barely mentioned in the book. Other than a sentence where he mentioned she was one of his darkroom assistants and including her name as the model in a couple of the photographs reproduced in the book, their torrid several year affair wasn't mentioned. It was almost as if Man Ray hadn't forgiven his tall, blond mistress, favorite model, fellow photographer and beautiful American Muse for abandoning him. It was as if writing about their relationship was too painful to share with the public.
Man Ray spent a lot of time describing in detail some of his experimental films. Since those films fully achieved the Dada goal of being totally illogical, irreverent and irrelevant as well as boring, even his descriptions of his film work seemed "much ado about nothing."
There were lots of surprises and insights in this autobiography of an ex-patriot American. One of my favorite sections involved the surrender of France to the Nazi. Paris then became an "open city." Man Ray and one of his mistresses had tried to escape but didn't succeed and had to return to Paris. Unlike the generally accepted view of the Nazi as absolute barbarians, Man Ray describes their taking over of Paris and occupied France as a genuine attempt to befriend the newly conquered citizens of French. They seemed mostly busy organizing and reorganizing all levels of French government: something that was probably much needed and long overdue?
Finally, before the Nazi became absolute enemies of the average French citizen, Man Ray along with most of his artist friends were able to leave the country for the USA.
He escaped at the same time as his friend Salvador Dali and his wife. Man Ray had it easier because he was an American citizen and the United States was still a neutral nation at the time. When he returned to France after WW II ended he was amazed to discover his home in the country and most of his artwork had survived the war. Picasso and some of his other fellow artists had also survived the occupation safely. While all of Paris had been mined with explosives so that the Germans could destroy the entire city with the push of a button, the German commander of Paris had decided to ignore Hitler's last minute orders to burn the city as the German army retreated from the advancing allies and Paris was spared total destruction. For an American who had been seduced by France, Man Ray was always grateful that Paris was spared by an enlightened German General. Ray eventually moved back to his adopted country and died there. He is buried in his beloved Paris.
The book is well worth reading. Man Ray was a truly independent thinker as well as a genuine eccentric and contrarian. He always claimed that Photography was not a full-fledged art form but he alternated between his own photography explorations and his true love, painting. As the reader will quickly learn, Man Ray could also write. He was happy when he "had everything again, a woman, a studio, a car."
5.0 out of 5 stars Arrived before expected! YAY! 8 July 2013
By M&M - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After making the purchase, I realized that this book was coming from the UK and would not be delivered for a MONTH— I was NOT HAPPY as it was to be a birthday gift! However, the book was delivered very fast. Thank you!
5.0 out of 5 stars Man Ray 30 Jan 2010
By Todd Christensen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
i recommend this book to any artist or art lover. an insightful look at the Dadaist and Man Ray's life.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Self Opinion(ated)... 21 Sep 2011
By glasshopper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Witty AND Profound, my highest praises for a book (and
if That's not enough, you might as well go back to
your TV :)
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