Man Ray, was born Emmanuel Rudinitsky, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 27, 1890. His adult life was spent in Paris, New York, and Hollywood. He considered Paris his home, and his artistic reputation flourished there.
Along with Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia, he became a big part of the Dada and Surrealist movements in art. He is most known for his experimental photograms which he labeled Rayographs. These were not fully appreciated in his lifetime, but are now considered great works.
Man Ray made his living as a fashion and portrait photographer, but always managed to throw in his highly individualistic avant-garde style.
World War II forced Man Ray to flee Paris. He spent time in Hollywood from 1940-1951. He had to leave behind his masterpieces of paintings and photography; in essence, his entire artistic career. When his boat was safely in the Port of Newark, he “was overcome with a feeling of intense depression”. He knew he had to start over. (From the book Perpetual Motif – The Art Of Man Ray, 1988, p. 273, compiled by the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution). I highly recommend this book if you want to learn more about Man Ray.
Eventually, he was able to return to Paris where he died on November 18, 1976.
Happy 122nd, birthday, Man Ray. You have inspired generations of artists.