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Man Ray's Montparnasse Hardcover – 24 Sep 2001

2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.; 01 edition (24 Sept. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810943336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810943339
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,449,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Herbert Lottman was born and raised in New York City, but he has lived most of his adult life in France. He first came to Paris as a Fulbright fellow in 1949; when he returned it was to open a European office for an American book publisher. Over the years Lottman has contributed to a number of American newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Herald Tribune, and Harper's Magazine; he is now international correspondent of the book trade journal Publishers Weekly, which has taken him to Asia, Africa, Latin America, nearly everywhere in Europe, and even at times to the United States. Lottman has published a dozen books in the Unites States, the best known of which are Albert Camus: A Biography, The Left Bank: Writers, Artists, and Politics from the Popular Front to the Cold War, and biographies of Philippe Petain, Gustave Flaubert, Colette, and Jules Verne. Most of them have also been published in the United Kingdom and translated into French and Spanish; a number have also appeared in German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Polish, and Czech.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is printed on horribly gloss paper which makes handling when reading the text unpleasant. Picture pages in gloss, text pages on standard paper please. Content is OK but not compelling enough.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shallow Scholarship 1 July 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Man Ray's experience in Paris is a fascinating and complex subject, certainly worthy of a book unto itself. Unfortunately the author of this book seems content to present his readers with out-of-date information. I do not pretend to be an expert on Man Ray. But I have researched extensively the life and photography of Berenice Abbott, whose own career and reputation is remarkably tangled up with Man Ray's. In Paris she worked for him as his darkroom assistant, shared his fascination for Eugene Atget's photographs, was fired by Man Ray (when Peggy Guggenheim called him on the telephone and requested a portrait sitting with her instead of him) and, until she moved back to the States in early 1929, competed with him for fashionable Paris portrait sitters. What I discovered in reading "Man Ray's Montparnasse" is that Lottman has not dug very deep into recently published scholarship, and thus perpetuates certain inaccuracies. For example, Lottman writes that Julien Levy, a mutual friend of Man Ray and Abbott, loaned Abbott money to purchase the Atget's archive in 1927, shortly after Atget's death. In fact, Levy did not invest in the Atget archive until 1930, three years later. Perhaps this seems like a minor detail, but for me it raises questions about the accuracy of the entire project. Moreover, other recent scholars have gotten this detail right, including Bonnie Yochelson in her 1997 book on Abbott, "Berenice Abbott: Changing New York: The Complete WPA Project" and Ingrid Schaffner in "Julien Levy: Portrait of an Art Gallery" (1998). For those interested in a more scholarly treatment of Man Ray's life and work, I highly recommend Neil Baldwin's 1988 "Man Ray: American Artist." For those fascinated by Paris in the early 20th century, I suggest Billy Kluver and Julie Martin's richly illustrated "Kiki's Paris: Artists and Lovers 1900-1930."
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't do Montparnasse without it, an interesting book 22 May 2004
By davequ - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It was merely coincidence that one day after returning from Paris (I always stay in a small hotel on rue Delambre in Montparnasse) I was in a bookstore in Colorado and picked this up just for the title.

Little did I know it would explode with stories and much interesting stories (I'm no historian and cannot verify their accuracy) and anecdotes about the photographer Man Ray and all his notorious friends & lovers in the pre WWII era of Montparnasse when Dada and Surrealism were taking hold. As I had spent so many hours wandering the same streets and sitting in the same cafes it really grabbed me and was a very interesting read.

In short, if you: (any or all of the below)-

Love Paris; plan to go there; have interest in the "lost generation/cafe society" era of Paris and particularly Montparnasse (one of my favorite areas in Paris);

then you are crazy if you don't at least check this book out. I'll use it for reference on my Montparnasse cafe crawls when I return next year.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating View of Montparnasse 1 May 2003
By Vilis R. Inde - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Although I cannot attest to the scholarly quality of "Man Ray's Montparnasse", I believe that Lottman provides insight into this Parisian art district.
The reader learns about the different bars/clubs that were important. He learns who met where; the locations of various artist studios; and the general feel of the era. The dissent in the da da movement and the surrealist movement was significant.
Man Ray's neutral role in all of this is interesting. Lottman makes it appear that obtaining portrait sitters was one of Ray's primary goals. That along with women and his cars.
I enjoyed the book and believe that there is much to be learned from it. Caveat: If there are historicals errors as the other reviewer mentions, then it is difficult to know what you can and cannot believe.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Portrait of the Paris "Camelot of Art" 21 Aug. 2008
By James R. Holland - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are a few almost legendary places whose draw reaches across the centuries of time and space and makes people wish that they could hop into a time-machine and go for a vacation or visit. For me, one of those fabled eras is Montparnasse Paris at the turn of twentieth-century. I've always thought of this location at this historical period as the "Paris Camelot of Art" and for me its draw is stronger than say the "Camelot of King Arthur."
Lottman has done a marvelous job of combining the many important artists and art movements that mark this time and place into a single readable, but informative book. It makes a nice companion to "KiKi's Paris: Artist and Lovers 1900-1930" (see my review). Unlike that book, which is like a huge family album of photographs of the people who passed through the area at that time in history, this book delves deeper into the personalities that formed the knights of the "rustic wine barrels" serving as the round tables of the "passage de l'Opera" in 1919.
The author picked Man Ray as his connection to all the people described in the book because the gregarious American visitor did what few of the other personalities described could do. He was able to get along with the various stratum of society that inhabited Montparnasse at the time. His camera opened the doors of the Dadaists as well as the mansion gates of high society and the rich aristocrats. Once his reputation with a camera was established, every important visitor to the area wanted to have their portrait made by the American living in Paris. Since he also did a lot of assignments for many of the most important news and fashion magazines of the era, his reputation and location was soon known worldwide. Much to his disgust, but to the benefit of his wallet, having him take your portrait became a status symbol. Despite this economic success he was still able to remain a part of the anti-society, anti-everything Dada movement.
People liked Man Ray and they liked having their pictures taken too. Everyone it seemed liked to have him take his or her picture. May Ray of course, didn't consider photography an art and considered himself to be primarily a serious painter.
The strength of this book is how the author manages to paint so many interesting biographical portraits and yet have them all interact in the geographic jumble that was Montparnasse. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed 12 Oct. 2014
By peter mavrides - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thanks, enjoyed it
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