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

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
© 2017 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Department
Painting and Sculpture
This work is on view on Floor 5, in a Collection Gallery, with 14 other works online.
Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky) has 109 works online.
There are 2,320 paintings online.

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

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

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
1916 - 1939, Man Ray, New York, Paris and Los Angeles.

1939 - 1947, Peggy Guggenheim, Paris, New York and Venice, acquired from Man Ray.

1947 - 1954, State University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, acquired as gift from Peggy Guggenheim.

1954, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, purchased and acquired in exchange from State University of Iowa.

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