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La Ville

  • Object:

    Photogravure

  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    1931 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Man Ray, born 1890 - died 1976 (maker)
    Compagnie Parisienne de Distribution de l'Eléctricité (publishers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Photogravure

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund and the Friends of the V&A

  • Museum number:

    E.1651-2001

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 970, box B

Man Ray was a master of experimental photographic techniques. In the 1930s, he participated in the Surrealist avant-garde and worked as a fashion photographer for Vogue. He famously declared, ‘I photograph the things that I do not wish to paint, the things which already have an existence.’ In this multiple exposure photograph of neon advertising signs, which he allegedly took while travelling through central Paris in a taxi, he captured the speed and vitality of the modern city.

Physical description

Black and white photogravure; multiple exposures of neon advertising signs in central Paris.

Place of Origin

France (made)

Date

1931 (made)

Artist/maker

Man Ray, born 1890 - died 1976 (maker)
Compagnie Parisienne de Distribution de l'Eléctricité (publishers)

Materials and Techniques

Photogravure

Dimensions

Height: 10.25 in Image, Width: 7.75 in Image, Height: 14.75 in Support, Width: 10.875 in Support, Height: 20 in Mount, Width: 24 in Mount

Descriptive line

'La Ville', from the portfolio Electricité, 1931 by Man Ray (born Emmanuel Radnitzky, Philadelphia,1890, died Paris 1976)

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Stephen Bury, ed. Breaking the Rules. The Printed Face of the European Avant Garde 1900-1937 London: The British Library, 2007. ISBN: 978 0 7123 0980 6.

Labels and date

Man Ray was a master of experimental photographic techniques. In the 1930s, he participated in the Surrealist avant-garde and worked as a fashion photographer for Vogue. He famously declared, ‘I photograph the things that I do not wish to paint, the things which already have an existence.’ In this multiple exposure photograph of neon advertising signs, which he allegedly took while travelling through central Paris in a taxi, he captured the speed and vitality of the modern city. [20/02/2006]
The Paris electricity company commisioned these images by Man Ray. At the time he was a successful fashion and portrait photographer, though he is better remembered for his Surrealist work. To explore the theme of electricity he captured subjects including neon lighting and domestic implements, as well as a torso crossed by ribbons representing currents of desire. [20/11/2012]
Gallery 100, ‘History of photography’, 2012-2013, label texts :

Man Ray (1890 – 1976)
From the portfolio ‘Electricité’
1931
The Paris electricity company commissioned these
images by Man Ray. At the time he was a successful
fashion and portrait photographer. To explore the
theme of electricity he captured subjects including
neon lighting and domestic implements, as well
as a torso crossed by ribbons representing currents
of desire.

Photogravures
Purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund
and the Friends of the V&A
Museum nos. E.1646, 1648, 1651, 1653-2001
[11 03 2014]

Production Note

From the portfolio Electricité published in an edition of 500 copies by the Compagnie Parisienne de Distribution de l'Electricité, Paris

Categories

Photographs

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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