US photographer, painter, draughtsman, and sculptor. His reputation is principally based on his photographic interpretations of the surreal.
After studying painting in New York, Ray and his wife moved to New Jersey in 1913 with the intention of creating an artists' community. Particular influences in European art of the time were synthetic cubism and surrealism. 1915 saw the beginning both of his friendship with Duchamp and of his experimentation in photographic images. He helped to found the New York dada movement and two magazines followed: The Blind Man and Rongwrong (both 1917). A year later came the spraygun paintings intended to imitate photographic effects, a technique also used in the fifties and sixties by pop artists.
In 1921 Man Ray went to Paris, where he became involved with European dadaists and the surrealist movement. He pioneered the photogram (a photographic impression made without a camera on a sensitized plate), which he named the ‘Rayograph’. His work was shown in the first international dada exhibition in 1922 and a collection of his photographs was published. He lived in Paris until 1940 and during this period he also made surrealist films, including Le Retour à la raison (1923) and L'Étoile de mer (1928). After leaving Paris he eventually arrived in Hollywood. Throughout the 1940s his work was widely exhibited and he continued to work right up to his death.