Man Ray. The outstanding archive of an extraordinary friendship

Jan­uary 31–May 5, 2013

Since 1911, Man Ray (1890 – 1976) had been work­ing in New York as a pain­ter and sculp­tor. He is known as one of the first ab­s­tract pain­ters in the USA, who tried to estab­lish con­tact with the Eu­ro­pean Avant­garde ear­ly on.




In 1915, he turned to­wards pho­tog­ra­phy, worked as a film­mak­er and pain­ter, and was a co-foun­der of the New York Da­da­sec­tion in 1917. In Paris, he joined the Sur­re­al­ists, while al­so tak­ing up com­mer­cial as­sign­ments for fashion- and por­trait pho­tog­ra­phy. At the out­break of war, he moved back to the USA and didn’t re­turn to Paris un­til 1951. L Fritz Gru­ber got in con­tact with Man Ray in the 1950s, and he and his wife Re­nate kept up a cor­dial friend­ship with the artist un­til his death.

This friend­ship re­sult­ed in a wide-rang­ing col­lec­tion of ma­te­rials re­lat­ing to him, in­clud­ing works of art, doc­u­ments (cor­re­spon­dence etc.), ob­jects, and signed ex­hi­bi­tion ca­t­a­logues. The Mu­se­um Lud­wig ac­quired the Man Ray col­lec­tion of Re­nate and L. Fritz Gru­ber in Septem­ber 2012, with fi­nan­cial sup­port from the Cul­tu­r­al Foun­da­tion of the Ger­man Fed­er­al States and the Arts Foun­da­tion of the Fed­er­al State of North Rhine- West­phalia.

A spe­cial fea­ture of the col­lec­tion is a set of fif­ty con­tact prints of por­traits of Lee Miller, Jean Cocteau, Max Ernst, Pab­lo Pi­cas­so, Do­ra Maar, and many other im­por­tant artis­tic fig­ures of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry, each in­scribed by Man Ray with num­bers in­di­cat­ing his rat­ing of the sub­ject. The col­lec­tion al­so fea­tures a se­ries of thir­ty-sev­en con­tact prints of rayo­graphs (as he re­ferred to pho­to­grams) that are of con­sid­er­able im­por­tance to stu­dents of Man Ray’s work.

This ex­cep­tio­n­al, high­ly per­so­n­al col­lec­tion of items re­lat­ing to one of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry’s great­est pho­to­graph­ic artists is go­ing on dis­play in the Prints and Draw­ings gallery, along with por­trait pho­to­graphs by Man Ray from the Mu­se­um Lud­wig’s col­lec­tion.

Ex­hi­bi­tion cu­ra­tor: Bo­do von De­witz