“AMONGST THE GREATEST PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE 20TH CENTURY”: MAN RAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS, 1934
MAN RAY. Man Ray Photographs 1920-1934 Paris… Second Edition. Hartford, Connecticut: James Thrall Soby; Paris: Cahiers d’Art; New York: Random House, (1934). Tall quarto, original spiral bound color-photographic stiff paper wrappers. Housed in a custom chemise and clamshell box. $6500.
First edition, second issue, with cancel title page citing the publisher’s fictitious claim of “Second Edition,” an exceptional copy of Man Ray’s first photobook, with 104 rich heliogravures of his photographs and Rayographs, “regarded by some as amongst the greatest of the 20th century” (Parr & Badger).
“This was Man Ray’s first monograph, and his friends pulled out all the stops to herald it” (Roth, 80). It contains poetry and essays by the leading figures of the Dada and Surrealist movements: André Breton, Paul Éluard, Marcel Duchamp (written under his famous pseudonym “Rrose Selavy”) and Tristan Tzara. “Man Ray’s work introduced a particular note [to Surrealism], since he used photography and recognized early on that this medium could reproduce the effects of object-based art in two-dimensional form. Photography was in a position to preserve the ordinary and to unleash surreal effects” (Icons of Photography, 26). In a short preface entitled “The Age of Light,” Ray cites “individual human emotion and desire” as the “only inspirations” for his pictures. Text in English and French. First edition, second issue, with the fictitious “Second Edition” on the cancel title page placed there by the publisher, who “attempted to generate demand where none existed by suggesting the edition had sold out… After replacing the title pages of these copies… with one stating second edition, he returned them for sale. Copies with the original title page are exceedingly rare” (Roth, 80). See also Parr & Badger I:108.
Images quite fresh, light edge-wear to bright unrestored wrappers, original spiral binding cracked at center and partially sprung at top. Quite scarce, very good condition.