Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky). The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself with Her Shadows. 1916
Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky)

The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself with Her Shadows

1916
On view
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
52" x 6' 1 3/8" (132.1 x 186.4 cm)
Credit
Gift of G. David Thompson
Object number
33.1954
Copyright
© 2015 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Department
Painting and Sculpture

Man Ray became dissatisfied with his original composition for this work inspired by a tightrope performance he had seen in a vaudeville show. He had originally arranged pieces of colored paper cut into the shapes of the tightrope dancer's acrobatic forms. Glancing down at the floor, he noticed that the discarded scraps of paper from which the shapes had been cut formed an abstract pattern resulting from chance. Comparing the accidental pattern with shadows that a dancer might have cast on the floor, he incorporated it into his composition.

Gallery label from Dada, June 18–September 11, 2006

Additional text

Inspired by a tightrope act he had seen in a vaudeville show, Man Ray cut pieces of colored paper into shapes corresponding to the dancer’s acrobatic movements. Dissatisfied with his work, he noticed that the discarded scraps of paper on the floor formed an abstract pattern. Comparing the accidental pattern with shadows that a dancer might have cast, he incorporated it into his composition. The figure of the tightrope dancer, the acrobat, and the circus performer in general were often adopted by artists throughout the last century in representations of movement, gravity, and the body in space.

Gallery label from On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century, November 21, 2010-February 7, 2011

Provenance Research Project
This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
The artist, New York and Paris. 1916 – 1939
Peggy Guggenheim, New York. Purchased from Man Ray in Paris, April 10, 1940 – 1945
Unknown buyer. Purchased from Peggy Guggenheim in New York, 1945
State University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. [By 1951] - 1954
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchased from State University of Iowa , 1954

If you have any questions or information to provide about the listed works, please e-mail provenance@moma.org or write to:

Provenance Research Project
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019

Pictured above: Vasily Kandinsky. Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 2 (detail). 1914. Oil on canvas, 64 1/8 x 48 3/8" (162.6 x 122.7 cm). Nelson A. Rockefeller Fund (by exchange). © 2009 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

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Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource