Man Ray (1890–1976) was an American modernist artist who spent most of his career in Paris. He was a significant contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal. He produced major works in a variety of media but considered himself a painter above all. He was best known in the art world for his avant-garde photography, and he was a renowned fashion and portrait photographer. Ray is also noted for his work with photograms, which he called 'rayographs'.
During his career as an artist, Man Ray allowed few details of his early life or family background to be known to the public. He refused to acknowledge he ever had a name other than Man Ray.
He was born as Emmanuel Radnitzky in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1890. He was the eldest child of Russian Jewish immigrants. He had a brother and two sisters, the youngest born in 1897 shortly after they settled in the Williamsburg neighbourhood of Brooklyn, New York. In early 1912, the Radnitzky family changed their surname to Ray. Man Ray's brother chose the surname in reaction to the ethnic discrimination and anti-Semitism prevalent at the time. Emmanuel, who was called 'Manny' as a nickname, changed his first name to Man and gradually began to use Man Ray as his combined single name.
See also Rrose SÚlavy.
‘Man Ray Biography’, Man Ray, retrieved 3 August 2013
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