Man Ray (born Emmanuel Radnitzky, August 27, 1890 – November 18, 1976) was an American artist whose career was spent mostly in Paris, France.
For those of you unfamiliar with him, Man Ray is “perhaps best described simply as a modernist, he was a significant contributor to both the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal. Best known in the art world for his avant-garde photography, Man Ray produced major works in a variety of media and considered himself a painter above all. He was also a renowned fashion and portrait photographer.” [source:Wikipedia]
Though he called himself a painter, Man Ray‘s photograms (which he called ‘Rayographs’, renaming them after himself) have brought him fame even after his death – along with his art photography, such as the famous Violon d’Ingres (which we will take a look at soon!) and Tears.
The J. Paul Getty Museum (which sadly does not currently have the photograph available currently for view), described Tears as “Like the emotive expression of a silent screen star in a film still, the woman’s plaintive upward glance and mascara-encrusted lashes seem intended to invoke wonder at the cause of her distress. The face, however, belongs not to a real woman but to a fashion mannequin who cries tears of glistening, round glass beads; the effect is to aestheticize the sentiment her tears would normally express. Man Ray made this photograph in Paris around the time of his breakup with his lover Lee Miller, and the woman’s false tears may relate to that event in the artist’s life.”
Man Ray himself.
The J. Paul Getty Museum also notes the popular inclusion of Tears in Man Ray’s other works: “Judging from his inclusion of this image in other photographic compositions, Man Ray must have considered Tears one of his most successful photographs. A cropped version of it with a single eye also appears as the first plate in a 1934 book of his photographs. “
Cropped version of Tears printed after 1960 by Pierre Gassmann – a silver print on paper – image size : 8 x 11 in. (20.2 x 28.1 cm.), in the collection held at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
More about Man Ray here: