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Man Ray's autobiography offers a view of the New York painting scene of pre-World War I, moves on in 1921, (he landed at Le Havre auspiciously on July 14) to Paris and its turbulent creativity. As a very young man who gave up an architecture scholarship to work and paint because he considered the painting of a picture the acme of human accomplishment (""Even today the conviction still persists""). Man Ray know Alfred Stieglitz at ""291"", Robert Henri and Georg Bellows at the Ferrer Center and Katharine Dreier of Societe Anonyme. His account of simultaneous involvement in the art world and disengagement in the social sphere is as honest an appraisal of the artist's way of being as any. Man Ray first started photographing by reproducing his paintings. In Paris, he became the official recorder of events and personalities -- and here are numerous single exposures of greats of the aristocracy, writers, painters--Lady Cunard, Gertrude Stein, Hemingway, Pound, Joyce, Picabia, Brancusi, Matisse, Braque, etc., etc. The relationship with others, in particular Duchamp, was deeper and more extended...But what we really have here is a view of the Dada, Surrealist and to a lesser extent, because he was not involved, the Cubist movement in Paris' fever pitch of productivity. Man Ray came to Hollywood in the forties, having left occupied France as an American citizen, knew Henry Miller and others. His life of maximum contact in dense centers of art activity has quick recognition value.

Pub Date: April 2nd, 1963
Publisher: Little, Brown-A.M.P.