WONDERFUL SURREALIST PHOTOGRAPH OF DUCHAMP, MAN RAY, AND LAURIE SAVAGE. Inscribed by the photographer Naomi Savage: “Greetings of the Season from Naomi and David Savage, with Man Ray, Duchamp, and Laurie looking on.”.
Having met in 1915, Man Ray (American 1890 - 1976) and Marcel Duchamp (French, 1887 - 1968) were lifelong friends and frequent collaborators whose powerful intellectual chemistry allowed them to respond freely to each other’s ideas in an artistic dialogue filled with in-jokes and innuendos. For example, among their earliest collaborations is Man Ray’s portraits of Duchamp’s alter-ego, Rrose Selvay, whose name is a pun on the French phrase, Eros, c’est la vie. Man Ray and Duchamp’s mutual rejection of traditional art-world ideologies and art-making practices remained a mainstay of their long friendship. Today each artist is associated with a range of avante-garde movements such as Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, and Conceptual Art.
Photographed in 1963 by American photographer Naomi Savage (1927 - 2005) the two artists sit side-by-side with their shoulders touching as they face the camera. The expression on their faces is an enigma. The landscape behind them is blurred, which distorts any normal sense of depth and presents Man Ray and Duchamp as one dimensional as a paper cutout. Hovering over the shoulder of Duchamp is Laurie Savage, the daughter of photographer Naomi Savage. Laurie’s unexpected presence adds a level of Surrealism, but also creates a sort of family snapshot: the photographer, Naomi Savage, was Man Ray’s niece, making Laurie his great-niece.
Naomi Savage studied photography with American photographer Berenice Abbott (American, 1898 - 1991) (who briefly worked as Man Ray’s studio assistant in Paris) at the New School for Social Research before studying art at Bennington College. But it was during an apprenticeship in Hollywood with her uncle and mentor Man Ray that she began to develop her trademark exploration of innovative photographic techniques. “The darkroom,” he told her, “was a place to make fearless tries at whatever images came to mind.” She took his advice to heart, experimenting with alternative photographic, mechanical, and electronic techniques throughout her career. Her photographs belong to collections of leading museums such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, and the Museum of Modern Art. The Smithsonian Archives of American Art retains her papers.
Provenance: From the collection of American photographer Arnold Newman (1918-2006).
Gelatin silver print. 7 3/8 x 6 in. (18.7 x 15.2 cm). Archivally framed under museum glass to an overall size of 16 x 13.5 in. Photograph flush mounted to board (as presented by Savage), with Savage’s inscription on board verso. In excellent condition with a few very minor hairline scratches only visible under raking light.
Price: $6,800 .