Untitled (Solarized Nude) (The Primacy of Matter over Thought)

Man Ray (American, 1890–1976)


Image/Sheet: 29.7 x 23.1 cm (11 11/16 x 9 1/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Photograph, gelatin silver print

Not On View


Americas, Photography



Man Ray was a modernist photographer whose works are characterized by an inventive exploration of new techniques and visual effects. Born in Philadelphia and trained as a painter, he arrived in Paris in 1921 and became a member of the Surrealist circle of artists there. He took up fashion and portrait photography as a way to make a living and began to experiment with a variety of processes, including solarization-a partial reversal of tone within a print, most visible at the edges of forms, caused by momentary exposure to light during the course of normal darkroom development. Solarization was an ideal technique to capture this mysterious and hallucinatory image of the Surrealist painter and sculptor Meret Oppenheim; the glowing dark aura surrounding her head transforms her into a disembodied, dreamlike figure.


Upper left in pencil: Man Ray. On verso in pencil: MR/1929.


Man Ray Estate; Roberta Kimmel, New York; private collection, New York; purchased June 18,1980

Credit Line

Graham Gund Photography Fund


© 2011 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris