Chrysler Museum of Art

Norfolk, VA




Man Ray's Électricité

September 16, 1999 - January 2, 2000


This exhibition highlights Man Ray's widely acclaimed but rarely seen Portfolio entitled Électricité. The Portfolio is a recent acquisition by the Chrysler Museum of Art and was purchased through the generosity of Decipher, Inc., and in memory of Alice R. and Sol B. Frank.

Published in 1931, the Électricité Portfolio is a prime example of the experimental style of photography that flourished between the two world wars. It was commissioned by a French electric company (La Campagnie Parisiene de Distribution d'Électricité) to promote the use of electricity. The Portfolio consists of 10 rayograms all related to uses of electricity and a text by Pierre Bost. The Chrysler's Portfolio is in pristine condition and includes the original packaging, also designed by Man Ray. The Portfolio was issued in the photogravure process. This is the same process used by Alfred Stieglitz to produce his seminal publication Camera Work. The photogravure process was favored because it produces a very high quality image. Camera Work was issued in an edition of 1,000, Électricité in an edition of 500.

Man Ray , born Emmanuel Radnitsky, was recently selected by Art News magazine as one of the century's 25 most influential artists. Most of his important work was done while living in Paris in the 1920s and 30s where he was influenced by has associations with Marcel Duchamp, Dadasim, Cubism, and Surrealism. Man Ray's works are difficult to categorize - he made photographs, films, paintings and found-object sculptures with interchangeable fluency and innovative skill. Within photography, his series of rayograms and solarized portraits distinguished him as one of the medium's unique, iconoclastic talents.

This Exhibition is organized by Brooks Johnson, Curator of Photography at the Chrysler Museum of Art.

Read more in Resource Library Magazine about the Chrysler Museum of Art.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 11/26/10

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