Before there was Helmut Newton or Richard Avedon, there was Man Ray. From a fashion perspective and as fashion photographer, Musée du Luxembourg explores the body of Man Ray’s fashion work. In the display cases, this exhibit follows his Parisian fashion trail with gowns featured in the Harper’s Bazaar magazine. I highly recommend downloading the Musée du Luxembourg audio guide to explore the exhibit virtually. Even after the exhibit closes, the audioguide remains active. Some images from my visit are below the videos.
You begin with his early surrealist works and move quickly into his work with, photographer, Lee Miller and continues with designers, Gabrielle Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli and philanthropist, Peggy Guggenheim. Man Ray was an official fashion photographer at Harper’s Bazaar from 1934 to 1939. Actually seeing the photo layouts, the dresses and hair styles, or live models made to look like André Vigneau’s wax and wood mannequins brings the fashion photography to life. I enjoyed reading snippets of the Harper’s Bazaar magazine articles; first person, very personable writing. The articles put the reader at the party. The photography built a desire to look one’s best. The detailed, sensual images of fashion photography with the descriptive words of scenery were cinematography in hard copy between the wars. Man Ray was a painter, photographer, and object maker.
Man Ray participated in the Dada and Surrealist Movements
Originally from Philadelphia and raised around fabric, Emmanual (“Manny”) Radnitsky, meets the Dada artist, Marcel Duchamp in 1915. The Dada/Surrealist/avant-garde movement and Duchamp is Man Ray’s New York introduction to celebrities, artists and high society. All of whom become subjects through the eye of his camera using existing techniques in a new fashion one could say. Man Ray’s influence helped fashion magazines become cinematography one could carry around.
What I recommend
Visit the exhibition live or virtually until January 17, 2021. The audioguide is available on the application stores in English. The teaching guide and other documentation will probably disappear once the exhibition closes. For children, Man Ray et la Mode has a “livret-jeux” guide for children, in French. The web page “livret-jeux” is a treasure because you will also find past exhibitions. I wish it were possible to show you all of the images from the exhibition….
Download the Man Ray Press Release (scroll to page 5 for the English)
The exhibit is in conjunction with the Harper’s Bazaar: First in Fashion (premier magazine de mode) at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (MAD) until January 3, 2021. Twin tickets are available for these two exhibitions.
Musée de Luxembourg Colleen’s Paris – “When Renaissance goes Modern in Paris”
CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE AND READ THE ARTICLE SNIPPETS