Revealing Man Ray

Earlier this month the National Portrait Gallery opened its much-anticipated display of Man Ray Portraits, showing the alluring mastery of one of the most recognisable yet elusive artists of the 20th century.

Solarised portrait of woman, c. 1930

Source: © Man Ray Trust /ADAGP

Solarised portrait of woman, c. 1930

Today, running alongside the show, Atlas Gallery in central London opens a show of Ray’s contact prints, a beautiful exhibition of 45 works formerly housed in a private collection.

Nude, c. 1930

Source: © Man Ray Trust /ADAGP.

Nude, c. 1930

The tiny dark-room reference prints offer an insight into the artist’s working processes, with many marked in pen, as though editing them for further works and compositions. Many of the works are printed full frame, showing untouched versions of some of Man Ray’s most famous works.

 Rayograph, 1922

Source: © Man Ray Trust /ADAGP.

Rayograph, 1922

There are also some printed sketches on show.

Pablo Picasso, 1933

Source: © Man Ray Trust /ADAGP

Pablo Picasso, 1933

As well as Man Ray’s iconic female portraits and nudes, the show reads like a Who’s Who of the early 20th century art world with portraits of a grumpy-looking, apparently chain-smoking Picasso, Georges Braque and writer James Joyce.

Solarised portrait of woman, c. 1930

Source: © Man Ray Trust /ADAGP

Solarised portrait of woman, c. 1930

Man Ray runs until 28 March at Atlas Gallery, 49 Dorset Street, London W1U

Man Ray (Self-portrait), 1931

Source: © Man Ray Trust /ADAGP

Man Ray (Self-portrait), 1931

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