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Man Ray (1890-1976) was born in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 27, 1890. He spent time growing up in Brooklyn, New York. Man Ray’s education at Brooklyn’s Boy’s High School from 1904-1909 provided him with solid grounding in drafting and other art techniques.

He studied the works of Old Masters in his free time, and after graduation, chose to pursue a career as an artist. He earned money as a commercial artist and a technical illustrator at several Manhattan companies to fund him initially, sporadically attending classes at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students league. He enrolled at the Ferrer School in the autumn of 1912, where he was introduced to avant-garde practices of European contemporary artists that greatly influenced his career.

In 1915, Man Ray had his first solo show of paintings and drawings during his residency at an art colony in New Jersey. He was included in an exhibition the following year for his proto-Dada assemblage titled Self Portrait. At the same time, Man Ray became involved with Dada, a radical anti-art movement, publishing two periodicals and developing unique mechanical and photographic methods of artistry. Man Ray, alongside Katherine Dreier and Duchamp, founded the Société Anonyme in 1920, an itinerant collection that was the first museum of modern art in the USA. In 1941, the collection was donated to Yale University Art Gallery.

Man Ray was represented in his first Surrealist exhibition alongside Pablo Picasso at the Galerie Pierre in Paris, 1925. In 1934, surrealist artist Oppenheim posed nude for Man Ray in his famous photography series. In the following year, Man Ray reinvented the photographic market, inventing new techniques and a type of photogram he named the “rayograph”.

Man Ray directed a number of avant-garde short films from 1923 until 1929, before refocusing his energy on painting as he returned to the United States from Paris during the Second World War. In 1948, Man Ray had a solo exhibition at the Copley Galleries in Beverly Hills, bringing together a wide collection of his work over the last two decades. His art is collected world wide, including by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), New York and the Tate Modern, London.

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