“THE POET OF THE DARKROOM”: MAN RAY’S SCARCE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE N’EST PAS L’ART
MAN RAY. La Photographie n’est pas L’Art. [Paris]: Éditions GLM, 1937. Slim octavo, 17 loose leaves in original flexible blue cloth portfolio, original black die-cut wrapper. $5800.
First edition of this landmark treatise, with 12 full-page halftones of Man Ray’s distinctive photographs, “regarded by some as amongst the greatest of the 20th century” (Parr & Badger).
Jean Cocteau called him “the poet of the darkroom.” “It was with Man Ray’s arrival in Paris in the summer of 1921, when Dada was at its height, that photographic experimentation, temporarily leaderless after the disastrous war, took a decisive new direction” (Frizot, 442). “Man Ray’s work introduced a particular note [to Dadaism], 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). “Although he incorporated photography into his Dadaist practice, much of his photographic activity was given over to conventional portrait and fashion commissions. This rankled with him, and ‘photography is not an art’ was a constant theme in his work. La Photographie n’est pas L’Art is one of the most enigmatic yet advanced of all his books… It can be taken as a summation of his experiments in photography, and might be said to be his photographic swansong” (Parr & Badger, 108-09). With text by André Breton. See Roth, 80-81, 86-87.
Interior and images fine. Only light sunning to cover through aperture in wrapper. A fine copy. Scarce.