Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Barbette Dressing

Artist:
Man Ray (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1890–1976 Paris)
Date:
1926
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
10.5 x 7.5 cm. (4 1/8 x 2 15/16 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987
Accession Number:
1987.1100.357
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Not on view
This photograph is a backstage portrait of Barbette, a notorious and popular female impersonator, high-wire entertainer, and trapeze artist. It belongs to a series that Man Ray made on commission for Surrealist author Jean Cocteau, who championed Barbette as a consummate performer. Barbette’s heavily made-up face, wig, and muscular torso suggest a provocative conflation of differently gendered attributes. The harness secured around his waist hints at the daring and athletic spectacle of his show.
Inscription: Stamped on print, verso C: "MAN RAY // 31 bis, RUE // CAMPAGNE // PREMIERE // PARIS XIVe"
[Pace/MacGill Gallery to Waddell, February 2, 1985]; John C. Waddell

Fundación "La Caixa", Madrid. "Lost Bodies, Photography and the Surrealists," November 23, 1995–January 14, 1996.

Caixa Forum, Fundacion "La Caixa", Barcelona. "Lost Bodies, Photography and the Surrealists," February 20, 1996–April 14, 1996.

Tate Modern. "Surrealism: Desire Unbound," September 10, 2001–January 1, 2002.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Framing a Century: Master Photographers, 1840–1940," June 3, 2008–September 1, 2008.

National Portrait Gallery, London. "Man Ray Portraits," February 7, 2013–May 26, 2013.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery, National Galleries Scotland. "Man Ray Portraits," June 6, 2013–September 22, 2013.

Pepper, Terence. Man Ray Portraits. London: National Portrait Gallery, London, 2013. no. 51.



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