9 15/16 x 8 in. (25.2 x 20.3 cm)
(New York, NY, 1890 - 1976, Paris, France)
Medium and Support:
Gelatin silver print (?)
Gift of the Estate of Helen C. Ellwanger
Location: Not currently on view
Man Ray was the only American who was intimately tied to the Surrealist group in Paris. During the 1920s, his photographic portraits were highly sought after, by the bohemian crowd as well as the social elite. Thwarting expectations causes a sense of tension that was one of the aims of the Surrealists; here, the inclusion of the mannequin arm is intended to disturb and disorient the viewer. Man Ray used the false arm in another portrait in 1932, that of fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli.
The subject here is Hildegarde Watson, daughter-in-law of the museum’s founder. She was a philanthropist, singer, painter, writer, photographer, and active preservationist.
[Label text from It Came From the Vault exhibition, 2013]